Georges-Louis Leclerc,
Comte de Buffon
A1 Je suppose que dans une chambre,dont le parquet est simplement divisé par des joints parallèles, on jette en l ‘air une baguette & l ‘un des joueurs parie que la baguette ne croisera aucune des parallèles du parquet, & que l ‘autre au contraire parie que la baguette croisera quelques-unes de ces parallèles; on demande le sort de ces deux joueurs. On peut jouer ce jeu sur un damier avec une aiguille à coudre ou une épingle sans tête.
Comte de Buffon

A2 Buffon can be imagined as wading in needles up to his knees across as polished parquet floor. Buffon ’s experiment (now known as Buffon ’s Needle) is performed by randomly tossing needles on a grid of equally spaced parallel lines of the parquet flooring. The needles are all the same length, which is exactly half of the spacing between the lines. After all the needles are dropped a count is made of the number of needles which intersect any line. Any given needle may intersect at most one line, but more than two-thirds will not intersect any line. The total number of needles divided by the number of intersecting needles approximates the value of Pi (Π).

A3 One speculator drops needles and another drops threads. Both of these are sampling systems. Each system results in standard stoppages.

A4 Apropos: In 1496 Leonardo da Vinci planned a machine for sharpening needles at the rate of 40,000 an hour.

Georges-Louis Leclerc,
Comte de Buffon (1707 –1788)
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 –1519)