Discovery of classic pi formula a 'cunning piece of magic'

While most people associate the mathematical constant pi with arcs and circles, mathematicians are accustomed to seeing it in a variety of fields. But two University scientists were still surprised to find it lurking in a quantum mechanics formula for the energy states of the hydrogen atom. “We didn’t just find pi,” said Tamar Friedmann, a visiting assistant professor of mathematics and a research associate of high energy physics, and co-author of a paper published this week in the Journal of Mathematical Physics. “We found the classic seventeenth century Wallis formula for pi, making us the first to derive it from physics, in general, and quantum mechanics, in particular.””