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David H. Bailey
David H. Bailey juggles careers in scientific supercomputing and mathematics, publishing books and papers in both (and, more often than not, finding interesting interconnections between the two). One of his mathematics papers, co-authored with Peter Borwein and Simon Plouffe of Canada, presented a new formula for pi, which formula permits one to calculate binary or base-16 digits of pi beginning at an arbitrary starting point, without needing to calculate any of the digits that came before. He has also explored the randomness of the digits of pi.

Bailey is recently retired from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California; he is also a Research Fellow at the University of California, Davis. He and his long-time colleague Jonathan Borwein (brother of Peter) have jointly written numerous books, technical papers and columns. Together they blog as Math Drudge. Bailey's website is

Disclaimer: Articles written or co-authored by Bailey do not necessarily reflect the views of his institutional affiliations.

Entries by David H. Bailey

How Have 2014 Market Prophets Fared?

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 4:56 PM

Predicting the future has never been easy, but the standard today is the same as in ancient times: does the prediction come true? As an ancient Hebrew author wrote, "When a prophet speaketh, ... if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, ... the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously:...

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Low Energy Nuclear Reactions: Papers and Patents

(23) Comments | Posted November 28, 2014 | 6:29 PM

The world community is truly at a crossroads like never before faced in the history of our civilization. If we continue business-as-usual with the consumption of fossil fuels, then, according to the 2014 edition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s climate change report, grave consequences...

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Dubious Digits: Is This Data Really That Accurate?

(1) Comments | Posted November 10, 2014 | 3:31 PM

When numbers of any sort are presented, whether in mathematics, science, business, government or finance, the default assumption is that the data presented are reasonably reliable to the last digit presented. Thus, if a light bulb is listed as using 3.14 watts, then its actual usage is presumably between 3.13...

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Fusion Energy: Hope or Hype?

(33) Comments | Posted October 23, 2014 | 4:26 PM

The IPCC Report's Warning

The latest draft edition of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report bluntly warns that business-as-usual increases in greenhouse-gas emissions will cause "further warming and long-lasting changes" in the Earth's climate system, with increasing likelihood of "severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people...

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To Frack or Not to Frack: That Is The Question

(1) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 4:28 PM

The Latest IPCC Report

The latest draft edition of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report includes some rather stark language:

Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive...

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How Financially Literate Is the Investing Public?

(2) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 12:15 PM


A June 2014 study released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute concluded that many U.S. Baby Boomer and Gen Xer households are expected to run short of money in retirement (assuming 35 years in retirement): 83 percent of those in the lowest income quartile, 47 percent in...
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Can Pi Be Trademarked?

(4) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 7:49 PM


Intellectual property law is complex and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but, roughly speaking, creative works can be copyrighted, while inventions and processes can be patented. In each case the intention is to protect the value of the owner's work or possession.

For the most part, mathematics is...

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Pi Day 3.14 (14)

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 1:01 AM


Pi Is Very Old

The number pi = 3.14159265358979323846... is arguably the only mathematical topic from very early history that is still being researched today. The Babylonians used the approximation pi ≈ 3. The...

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Why Mathematics Is Beautiful and Why It Matters

(0) Comments | Posted February 18, 2014 | 4:52 PM

Scientists through the ages have noted, often with some astonishment, not only the remarkable success of mathematics in describing the natural world, but also the fact that the best mathematical formulations are usually those that are the most beautiful. And almost all research mathematicians pepper their description of important...

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When Skepticism Becomes Denial: The Unholy Alliance Between Science Denial Movements

(216) Comments | Posted November 5, 2013 | 8:49 PM

One of the most perplexing side effects of the Information Age is the means that it unfortunately grants to many pseudoscientific and science-denial movements to gain foothold and mutually strengthen numbers. Gone are the days when everyone would read or listen to common, well-researched, professionally written news.

Nowadays, everyone can...

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Please Mess With Texas: Textbook Fiasco Threatens U.S. Science

(230) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 8:54 PM


Once again Texas has joined a list of U.S. states that are fighting a rear-guard war against the progress of modern science.

On Sept. 9, 2013, the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network issued a joint news release expressing alarm at comments made...

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Hype Now, Hide Later: No Way to Do Scientific Research

(11) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 1:41 PM

The scientific world is suffering through a rash of examples of the sad consequences of the "hype now, hide later" approach to scientific news.

Stem cell breakthrough?

physics04On May 15, 2013, a team of researchers from Portland, Oregon, Boston, Massachusetts, Thailand...

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The Colorful Life of the Four-color Theorem: A Tribute to Kenneth Appel

(5) Comments | Posted May 8, 2013 | 6:22 PM

Kenneth Appel, who along with Wolfgang Haken, in 1976 gave the first proof of the four-color theorem, died on April 19, 2013, at the age of 80.

Appel was employed as an actuary and also served in the U.S. Army before completing his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1959. After...

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Why E.O. Wilson is wrong

(30) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 5:34 PM

E.O. Wilson is truly one of the great scientists of our time. In addition to his very extensive portfolio of important and painstaking academic publications, he has won two Pulitzer prizes for general nonfiction. Wilson has fearlessly ventured into arenas such as sociobiology (applications of evolutionary biology to social behavior) and...

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Are the Digits of Pi Random?

(9) Comments | Posted April 16, 2013 | 7:01 PM

Ever since the dawn of mathematics (e.g., in ancient Greece, c. 250 B.C.) and decimal computation (e.g., in India, c. 200 A.D.), people have wondered whether the digits of the number we call pi (= 3.1415926535...) are "random." Answering, or at least studying, this question spurred mathematicians from Archimedes, who...

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Smart Meters, Dumb Science

(47) Comments | Posted February 28, 2013 | 12:26 PM

On February 21, 2013, the city council of Sebastopol, California (a small suburb north of San Francisco) adopted a resolution attempting to ban the installation of smart meters by Pacific Gas and Electric, claiming that the devices pose "potential risks to the health, safety and welfare of Sebastopol residents."...

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Set the Default to "Open": Reproducible Science in the Computer Age

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 2:48 PM

It has been conventional wisdom that computing is the "third leg" of the stool of modern science, complementing theory and experiment. But that metaphor is no longer accurate. Instead, computing now pervades all of science, including theory and experiment. Nowadays massive computation is required just to reduce and analyze experimental...

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Is Believing in Climate Change "An Insult to God"?

(87) Comments | Posted December 7, 2012 | 5:05 PM

With movements such as young-earth creationism, we certainly have seen examples of religion being shanghaied into the service of anti-science. But some recent rhetoric in opposition to environmentalism and climate change science takes the cake.

For example, E. Calvin Beisner, leader of the Cornwall Alliance (a consortium of evangelical clergy)...

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What on Earth Do They Think? U.S. Politicians on the Age of the Planet

(1670) Comments | Posted November 20, 2012 | 12:54 PM

In an interview with GQ, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who has been mentioned as a rising star and potential U.S. presidential candidate in 2016, was asked "How old do you think the Earth is?" He responded:

At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out...
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Numerical Nonsense in the U.S. Presidential Campaign

(5) Comments | Posted August 20, 2012 | 8:25 PM

The political world is seldom a source of high scholarship, but the current U.S. presidential campaign sets new lows. In addition to the worse-than-normal avoidance of substantive issues, and a very unpleasant level of mudslinging, numerical literacy has hit a new low. Here are some telling examples:

Republican presidential hopeful...

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