Who Invented Pi?
Date: 6 May 1995 22:40:04 -0400 From: Anonymous Subject: Ask Dr. MAth Who was the first person to use pi? Linda Beyt firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 7 May 1995 13:48:58 -0400 From: Dr. Ken Subject: Re: Ask Dr. MAth Hello there! The concept of Pi is an extremely old one in mathematics, and we don't know who first figured it out. It probably was discovered by ancient surveyors (after all, the word "geometry" means "the study of measuring the Earth") who noticed that round things were about 3 times as far around as they were wide. There's a good book called "A History of Pi" by Petr Beckmann that you might look at if you're interested in knowing more. The modern symbol for Pi (which I unfortunately don't have on this keyboard) was first used in our modern sense in 1706 by William Jones. He wrote: There are various other ways of finding the Lengths or Areas of particular Curve Lines, or Planes, which may very much facilitate the Practice; as for instance, in the Circle, the Diameter is to the Circumference as 1 to (16/5 - 4/239) - 1/3(16/5^3 - 4/239^3) + ... = 3.14159... = Pi. I found this information in the book "A History of Mathematical Notation" by Florian Cajori. -K
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