Graduate Number Theory Seminar

DATE: Wednesday, January 12 (2011), at 12:50 - 1:40pm  
PLACE: LIT 339 (The Atrium)
SPEAKER: Jon Borwein (University of Newcastle) Jonathan M. Borwein, FRSC, FAAAS, FBAS FAA
Laureate Professor
and Director CARMA, University of Newcastle
TITLE: The life of π

The desire to understand π, the challenge, and originally the need, to calculate ever more accurate values of π, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, has captured mathematicians --- great and less great --- for many many centuries. And, especially recently, π has provided compelling examples of computational mathematics. Pi, uniquely in mathematics, is pervasive in popular culture and the popular imagination. In this lecture I shall intersperse a largely chronological account of π's mathematical and numerical status with examples of its ubiquity. The talk is lodged at and the accompanying paper [5] is at


  1. J.M. and P.B. Borwein, and D.A. Bailey, Ramanujan, modular equations and pi or how to compute a billion digits of pi, MAA Monthly, 96 (1989), 201--219. Reprinted in Organic Mathematics,, 1996, CMS/AMS Conf Proceedings, 20 (1997), ISSN: 0731-1036.
  2. J.M. Borwein and P.B. Borwein, Ramanujan and Pi, Scientific American, February 1988, 112--117. Also pp. 187-199 of Ramanujan: Essays and Surveys,Bruce C. Berndt and Robert A. Rankin Eds., AMS-LMS History ofMathematics, vol. 22, 2001.
  3. L. Berggren, J.M. Borwein and P.B. Borwein, Pi: a Source Book, Springer-Verlag, (1997). Second Edition, (2000). Third Edition, January 2004.
  4. D.H. Bailey, and J.M. Borwein Mathematics by Experiment: Plausible Reasoning in the 21st Century, AK Peters Ltd, 2003, ISBN: 1-56881-136-5.
  5. J.M. Borwein, Pi: from Archimedes to ENIAC and beyond, in Mathematics and Culture, Einaudi, 2008. Revised 2010 for Bergren Festschrift.

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Last update made Mon Jan 10 19:21:46 EST 2011.