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How Mathematicians Used A Pump-Action Shotgun to Estimate Pi

Posted on April 14th, 2014 at 22:30 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilisation has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of π and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do?

If ever you find yourself in this situation, you’ll be glad of the work of Vincent Dumoulin and Félix Thouin at the Université de Montréal in Canada. These guys have worked out how to calculate an approximate value of π using the distribution of pellets from a Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun, which they assume would be widely available in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

  1. “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one rim to the other it was round all about, and…a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about….And it was an hand breadth thick….”

    — First Kings, chapter 7, verses 23 and 26

  2. Give these guys an Ignobel!

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