The history of Pi

Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The strange thing about pi is that it goes on forever and it will never stop! No matter how hard you try, you will never reach the last number of pi. Pi is of great importance in the measurement of circles but also in more advanced mathematics in connection with such topics as continued fractions, logarithms of imaginary numbers, and periodic functions. In about the mid nineteenth century pi had been figured to have 707 numbers after the decimal places and by the mid twentieth century, an electronic computer had calculated pi to the 100,000 digits. It would have taken a human being working without any errors about eight hours a day on a desk calculator 30,000 years to make this an accurate calculation. It took the computer about eight and a half hours to do this! But today we have the technology to compute pi to the 100,000,000 digits!

It is a formula that is over four thousand years old, and was first used by the Babylonians and Egyptians. Babylonians calculated pi to be 3.125, while the Egyptians calculated it at 3.160484, which is harder to use than 3.125. The letter "ð" was chosen to represent 3.14 because it is the Greek letter that makes the "P" sound which stands for perimeter. This symbol was first used in 1709 by William Jones, who was working on a theory for pi. In 500 B.C., pi is calculated at 3. In Syracuse in 250 B.C., Archimedes calculated pi at 3.1463. In A.D. 450 in China pi is calculated at 355/113.

In 1770, a German mathematician named Jhoann Lambert had concluded pi is an irrational number and cannot be computed. Also in 1882 another mathematician had also concluded that pi is transcendental and cannot be the root of any algebraic equation with rational coefficients.

The Holy Bible also mentions the ratio of pi, although their value was the whole number 3. There is a reference to a molten sea, “a molten sea, ten cubits from...