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Edit made on September 12, 2009 by ColinWright at 08:47:17

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[[[> IMG:Needle.png ]]]
What is the probability that a needle will fall on a line when it is dropped randomly on a floor with a pattern of equally spaced parallel lines?

The answer is EQN:\frac{2L}{D\pi} , where D is the distance between two adjacent lines, and L is the length of the needle (L<D).

As this formula involves EQN:\pi , this leads to an experimental way of estimating its value.

The formula stays the same even when you bend the needle in any way you want (as long as the needle can still lay flat) - this problem is called Buffon's noodle!!!

An extension is to find the probability that the needle will fall on a line when dropped randomly on a floor with a square grid lattice.

! Comments

The formula's fine, but as a method of estimating EQN:\pi ??? Peter Newstead.
The formula's fine, but as a method of estimating EQN:\pi it's atrocious.
Simple analysis shows that thousands of millions of drops are needed to
get just a few decimal places of accuracy. In principle it's fine, but
in practice it's exceedingly inefficient.