The history of how pi was created.
Pi has been in existence for almost 4000 years. In spite of this fact, if the number of seconds in those 4000 years was to be determined and then calculate the pi to the number of places, it would still be just an approximation of the actual figure (Bailey et al,.19; 50-56). Pi originated from Babylon and Egypt. The Babylonians determined the area of a circle by taking three times its square radius. This produced the value of pi, which was 3. One of the Babylonians tables in 1680BC records the value of pi to be 3.125 as the closest approximation. The Egyptians, on the other hand, had an estimate of pi to be 3.16
The very first pi calculation was done by one of the greatest mathematicians in the history of the ancient world called Archimedes of Syracuse. This was the year 287 to 212 BC. Archimedes gave an application of an area of a cycle using a method called Pythagoras theorem. Archimedes used this method to find the area of two polygons: Archimedes did not actually fixed an exact value of pi but rather proposed an approximation (Beckmann; 2015). To do that, he used a 96-sided polygon to determine the approximated value which was between 3.1408 and 3.14285.
Why do they use that symbol?
The symbol was first used by Welsh mathematician known as William Jones. It is a Greek symbol that denotes the ratio of something. The symbol was coined from the Greek word that means the perimeter
Why did they decide that number?
Egyptians used pyramids to calculate pi, Archimedes used 96-gon, Zhu Chongzhi increased to 12,288-gon. Ferguson used his hands to calculate 620 digits, and Kondo calculated using a supercomputer to calculate pi (Berggren et al.,; 2013). The results they all came up with was the same. With approximations done by ancient mathematician Archimedes, the Babylonians Egyptians, the Bible, and other mathematicians like Madhavan of Sangamagramam and Zhu Chongzhi of China, they were all arriving at least at the same value each time. Later the introduction of computers proved the same theory of pi to be 3.15.
All fun facts or information about pi.
The ratio of pi came from nature. In simple terms, it is the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter. This reality was always there and just waiting for someone to discover it. The great Giza pyramid that was built around 2550 BC, had 1760 cubits as its perimeter and a height of 280 cubits (Beckmann; 2015). The approximate ratio was 1760/280. This ratio relates to approximately 2 times pi. It is recorded that Egyptologists believe that these approximations were chosen for some symbolic reasons. However, it is not with certainty that the claims are true.
Another fun fact about pi is that it is also recorded in the Bible in the book of 1 Kings 7:23. Some researchers believe that the biblical approximation of pi could be the most correct approximation (Bailey et al,.19; 50-56). The reason behind this is that cubits measurements vary depending on the person’s forearm length. But in the Bible, the measurements originate from one person only.
Any important information
Pi obsession does not just exist among mathematicians alone or scientists alone. Pi can also be found in pop culture because of its mysterious nature and mathematical formula (Berggren et al.,; 2013). All the non-cerebral shows, movies, and books cannot go without mentioning the popular pi constant.
Bailey, David H., et al. “The quest for pi.” The Mathematical Intelligencer 19 (1997): 50-56.
Beckmann, Petr. History of Pi. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015.
Berggren, John L., Jonathan Borwein, and Peter Borwein. Pi: a sourcebook. Springer Science & Business Media, 2013.
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