Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number
We all learned that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is called pi and that the value of this algebraic symbol is roughly 3.14. What we weren't told, though, is that behind this seemingly mundane fact is a world of mystery, which has fascinated mathematicians from ancient times to the present. Simply put, pi is weird. Mathematicians call it a "transcendental number" because its value cannot be calculated by any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square root extraction.
In this delightful layperson's introduction to one of math's most interesting phenomena, Drs. Posamentier and Lehmann review pi's history from prebiblical times to the 21st century, the many amusing and mind-boggling ways of estimating pi over the centuries, quirky examples of obsessing about pi (including an attempt to legislate its exact value), and useful applications of pi in everyday life, including statistics.
This enlightening and stimulating approach to mathematics will entertain lay readers while improving their mathematical literacy.
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accuracy actually angle approximation value Archimedes Buffon's needle calculating the value chapter Chudnovsky circle's circum circumference circumscribed circle circumscribed regular closer congruent circles consider continued fraction convergent Cusanus cylinder decimal places decimal value diameter digits distance divisors earth equal equator equilateral triangle example famous fascinating find the area formula four geometric German mathematician given circle Howard Eves inscribed and circumscribed larger circle Leonhard Euler look Ludolph van Ceulen mathe mathematician mathematics measure meter longer method nonshaded regions Notice number of sides parallel pentagon perimeter problem Pythagorean theorem quarter circle radii Ramanujan regular hexagon regular polygon result Reuleaux triangle right triangle rope segment semiperimeter shaded region smaller circle smaller semicircles solstice sphere square Srinivasa Ramanujan subtract the area symbol Tamura tangent teardrop shapes trillion value of tc William Shanks Yasumasa Kanada