10 Answers to Pi Trivia Questions
Just before Pi Day I posed 10 trivia questions about pi–some easy, some maybe not. Thankfully, I have remembered now to post the answers below and you can check your “pi smarts.” Maybe one day there will be a game show, “Are You Smarter Than a Statistician?”
I did run across other background information floating around “out there” about pi and Pi Day, but 10 was a good binary-looking number to establish as a cut-off. Besides, most of the explanatory content was way over my head.
So, here again are the ten trivia questions I posed about Pi, with answers below.
- What is the definition of pi (not its estimated numeric value)?
- What 18th Century English mathematician first employed the Greek letter Pi to symbolize the value of #1 above?
- Pi is which letter (first, second, third, etc.) of the Greek alphabet?
- Is it any coincidence that the first two letters of the word “pizza” are P and I? (yes or no)
- Is the value of pi a rational or irrational number?
- The Greek letter Pi is also used in legal shorthand to represent what?
- In what Star Trek (TOS) episode is an evil energy being tricked by Kirk’s crew into attempting a full calculation of pi?
- What is the general literary technique that places artificial constraints on an author’s use of words, e.g., limiting word lengths to mimic the sequential digits of pi? (Yes, this has actually been done.)
- In 2010-2011, how many days were needed to calculate the current record of 10 trillion decimal places for pi?
- What is the name given to the practice of memorizing large strings of digits of pi through the use of various mnemonic techniques?
- pi = C/D = the circumference of a circle as related to its diameter, a constant yet irrational value (oops, that’s the answer to #5)
- William Jones of Wales (1706), subsequently popularized by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler several decades later
- 16th letter of Greek alphabet
- Yes, total coincidence–but a tasty one!
- “Wolf in the Fold” (1967), perhaps popularly remembered as the “Jack the Ripper” episode
- Constrained Writing, as exemplified by Cadaeic Cadenza, for example
- 371 days
- Piphilology (a play on the words “pi” and “philology”)