Go to content
Buffon's needle experiment is an example of a Monte Carlo method, whereby a random process is used to find an approximation to a mathematical value, in this case pi.
A needle is dropped on a floor, with floorboards of width equal to the needle's length. The number of times the needle falls on a crack is counted. This total, when compared to the number of times the needle has been dropped, can give an estimate of pi.
Begin by choosing the number of needle drops then click on Simulate. an applet from
HREF="http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/teaching_aids/books_articles/probability_book/bookapplets/index.html">Dartmouth
College, Hanover, NH

## Glossary

### pi

the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is approximately 3.14159265...

Full Glossary List

## This question appears in the following syllabi:

SyllabusModuleSectionTopicExam Year
AQA A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
CCEA A-Level (NI)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
Edexcel A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
I.B. Higher Level5ProbabilityExperimental-
I.B. (MSSL)3ProbabilityExperimental-
I.B. Standard Level5ProbabilityExperimental-
OCR A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
OCR-MEI A-Level (UK - Pre-2017)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
WJEC A-Level (Wales)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
CIE A-Level (UK)S1ProbabilityExperimental-
Methods (UK)M15ProbabilityExperimental-
Pre-U A-Level (UK)ProbProbabilityExperimental-