Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number

Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number

by Alfred S. Posamentier, Ingmar Lehmann
     
 

ISBN-10: 1591022002

ISBN-13: 9781591022008

Pub. Date: 07/28/2004

Publisher: Prometheus Books

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

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Overview

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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591022008
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
07/28/2004
Pages:
324
Sales rank:
619,001
Product dimensions:
5.68(w) x 8.42(h) x 0.93(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments7
Preface9
Chapter 1What Is [pi]?13
Chapter 2The History of [pi]41
Chapter 3Calculating the Value of [pi]79
Chapter 4[pi] Enthusiasts117
Chapter 5[pi] Curiosities137
Chapter 6Applications of [pi]157
Chapter 7Paradox in [pi]217
Epilogue245
Afterword275
Appendix AA Three-Dimensional Example of a Rectilinear Equivalent to a Circular Measurement293
Appendix BRamanujan's Work297
Appendix CProof That e[superscript pi greater than sign pi superscript e]301
Appendix DA Rope around the Regular Polygons305
References309
Index313

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