The History of Pi

There is one famous number that everyone remembers even if they are not mathematicians the public is aware of its importance in math circles literally and figuratively. In fact there is even a motion picture with the name pi, but where did pi come from? And who first discovered it? Has it always been 3.14?

Pi as the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter.
In other words, if the stream were wrapped around the circles outer edge, it
would need to be the length of 3.14 diameters. A rough estimate for pi shows up
in the Bible where around C is 10 cubits in diameter and 30 cubits around. From
this we can infer a ratio of about 3 to 1 between the diameter and its circumference.
It appears that the ancient Babylonians calculated the area of a circle by
taking 3 times the radius squared meaning 3 of pi but one Babylonian tablet
indicated a value of 3.1 to 5 for pie. Around 1650 BC ancient Egyptians
calculated the area of the circle a different way by using the formula seen
here where D is the diameter this yields an approximate value of 3.164 pi.
Archimedes was a Greek mathematician, inventor, astronomer and engineer and is
regarded as one of the leading scientists. Classic antiquity using inscribed
and circumscribed polygons about a circle. He was the first person with a
theoretical calculation about pi and had a number precisely pegged almost to
the thousand. The search for pi took a hiatus until the 17th century when
European mathematician James Gregory developed a new earth medical formula to
approximate the value of pi. Later Gottfried Leibniz- Gregory's work further
and used the formula in his approximations. It worked well but the problem with
using it to calculate pi to 4 to 6 decimal places is that it would require the
addition of an amazing five million terms. The calculations of approximating pi
became more and more complex. John machine in 1706 developed a refinement on
Gregory's formula which produced the formula that computer programmers still
used today. Englishman William shanks used the formula to calculate pi to seven
hundred and seven (707) places which took many years he published his work in
1873 and it was determined much later that only 527 places were correct.
Englishman mathematician William Jones introduced a symbol for pi in 1706. The
symbol became the standard when Leonard Euler adopted it in 1737. In 1761
Johann Lambert discovered that pi was an irrational number meaning that it's
decimal will go on forever and never repeat. Today computers calculate PI to
thousands of decimal places and there's even a PI 1000 Club consisting of
members who have successfully to recited the number by memory to a thousand
places.

Unbelievably the current record-holder Akira Haraguchi, needed
16 hours to recite PI to more than 100,000 decimal places. Starting at 9 a.m.
(16:28 GMT) on October 3, 2006, he sets the latest unofficial world record
(100,000 digits) in 16 hours. By nightfall, he had equaled his previous record
of 83,500 digits, and then continued until 1:28 a.m. on October 4, 2006, when
he stopped with digit number 100,000. The incident was captured on film in a
public hall in Kisarazu, east of Tokyo, where he took five-minute onigiri
breaks every two hours to maintain his energy levels. And his visits to the
bathroom were videotaped to show the exercise was lawful.

From July 1, 2005, to July 2, 2005, he set a new world
record of 83,431 jumps.

Pi is used in many mathematical formulas where spheres and circles are present. Pi also shows up in strange places divide the actual length the water flows in a river by the distance as a crow flies over it and the result is PI and it's not clear why. Due to its natural arc pi, gravity and a pendulums length how up in the calculation of its period. Divide the perimeter of the Great Pyramid by half its height and the result is PI and this number was not even discovered until many centuries after the completion of the pyramids. So it's easy to see why this amazing numbers captured the imagination and attention of the human race throughout history there are sure to mean more discoveries about this fascinating number and how can be used to help the human race in the future.

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