The Feynman point

Famed Physicist Richard Feynman once joked that he wanted to memorize π up to the 762nd digit. Why? Because that’s where pareidolia kicks in, and the digits appear to briefly coalesce into rationality:

3.1415926535 8979323846 … [727 digits] … 9605187072 1134999999 …

He would end a hypothetical recitation at that point, the implication being that from there on the decimal repeats. Virtually everyone, obviously including Feynman, knows π is both irrational and transcendental, and thus such a fact is impossible. The so-called “Feynman Point” is the first incidence of six consecutive identical digits in π and it also happens to be the first incidence of four and five consecutive digits.

Happy Pi Day.

Comment (1)

  1. ellyn wrote::

    And just when I thought I knew everything about Pi, you find a great story to retell.

    Hmmm…how to celebrate Pi day – apple, merangue, blueberry?

    Happy Pi Day!

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at 10:07 #