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A New Look at an Old Question: Is π Normal?

By James A. Walsh


luncheons each semester. Munching on pizza provided by the Department, students interested in mathematics, from first-years to seniors, and faculty interact in an informal and enjoyable setting. Twenty to thirty minutes of each luncheon are reserved for a presentation on something mathematical, ensuring that we all head to our 1:30 classes well-fed in more ways than one. Gary Kennedy, a mathematician from Ohio State-Mansfield, graciously made such a presentation last year, with his topic the remarkable formula for π discovered by Bailey, P. Borwein and Plouffe [1; also see below]. During his talk Gary vaguely mentioned the discovery of a connection between the normality of π and chaotic dynamical systems. In fact, aware that my field is dynamical systems, he singled me out of the audience as he mentioned this discovery. Now obliged to respond to this challenge, I felt a certain kinship with the character portrayed by Gary Cooper in the classic film High Noon as I investigated this connection. Armed with my sheriff's badge, I presented my findings at a subsequent luncheon. That presentation, in which my dear Aunt Phyllis also played a role, is the basis for this article

Year: 2011
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