You've Never Seen Pi Like This

Martin Krzywinski

Science artist Martin Krzywinski has turned the infinite randomness pi—and other mathematical constants—into a thing of visual beauty. Krzywinski, building on images created by Cristian Ilies Vasile, has compiled a series of eye-catching circular diagrams based on relationships between the digits in pi, and in the other mathematical constants phi (also known as the “golden ratio”) and e (the base of the natural logarithm).

Martin Krzywinski

The original image by Crisitian Ilies Vasile used a circos diagram, a format developed by Krzywinski for genetics visualizations. In his version, Krzywinski uses color pairs from a Brewer palette, which are designed for maximum readibility.

Inside a circle divided into 10 segments—representing the numbers zero to nine—each digit of pi links to the the next with a line. Krzywinski added an outer layer to Vasile’s illustration. He measures how frequently one digit follows another. For example, in a sequence like 2739452781, the transition 2 to 7 occurs twice. Krzywinski uses bubbles to represent these transitions: the larger the dot, the more times a sequence occurs.



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