The Palais de la Découverte is a science museum located in the Grand Palais, on Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt. The museum’s collection contains exhibits for mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology, and biology, featuring interactive experiments with commentaries by lecturers. It also includes a Zeiss planetarium with a 15-metre dome.
The museum was created in 1937 by Jean Baptiste Perrin (awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1926) during an international exhibition on ‘Arts and techniques in modern life’. In 1938 the French government decided to convert the facility into a new museum, which now covers 25,000 square metres within the west wing of the Grand Palais built for the Exposition Universelle (1900). In January 2010 the museum was merged with the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. The new institution is named universcience.
The museum contains a circular room known as the ‘pi room’. There are 707 large, wooden digits of the number π inscribed on its wall. The digits were based on a calculation by English mathematician William Shanks, which included an error in the 528th digit. The error was detected in 1946 and corrected in 1949.