The 16th letter of the Greek alphabet. It is used as a symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, which is 3.141592653, commonly rounded to 3.14. Perhaps no other number has been more pondered, examined and calculated than pi. Circa 1650 B.C., the ratio was computed by an Egyptian scribe, and the number was recorded as 3.16049 in the Rhind Papyrus. The writings described how to create a square area the same size as a circle.
The Exact Value of Pi
Over the years, pi, which was named some 3,000 years later, has been calculated numerous times to the maximum decimal place that humans and calculating devices could take it. In 1596, it was calculated to 32 decimal places and up to 127 places by 1719. In 1949, the ENIAC took 70 hours to yield 2,037 digits. However, in 1997, a Hitachi mainframe computed pi to 51.5 billion digits in 29 hours. The bottom line is that the absolutely exact value of pi cannot be computed.
The Pi Symbol