These Jeopardy! Questions About Pi Are More Difficult Than You'd Expect

US quiz show Jeopardy! last Tuesday featured a category on Pi, challenging an accountant, corporate finance manager and medical assistant to answer five questions about the mathematical constant.

Jeopardy! presents clues in the form of answers; contestants must phrase their responses in question form. For example: “Lars Ulrich’s band has 6 Grammys for this genre.” (Answer: “What is heavy metal?”)

Via fan site J! Archive, here are the questions about Pi, from easiest to hardest:

  1. Pi is the ratio of this measurement of a circle to its diameter.
  2. Numerically, pi is considered this, like a type of “meditation”.
  3. For about $19,100 x pi, this “Black Swan” director made “Pi”, his 1998 debut film about a math whiz.
  4. In the 100s AD, this Alexandrian astronomer calculated a more precise value of pi, the equivalent of 3.14166.
  5. You can find the area of this oval geometric shape with pi x A x B, if A & B are half of its longest and shortest diameter.

Math Drudge notes that last week’s Jeopardy! episode wasn’t the first to feature “some interesting and relatively sophisticated” mathematical categories, highlighting the 2011 competition between IBM supercomputer Watson and two human game show champions, and a May 2013 episode that featured a category on the Abel Prize of mathematics.

J! Archive has published answers to the Pi questions here.

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