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The History of Pi


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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