Sunday, March 15, 2020

The History of Pi Essays - Pi, Approximations Of, Free Essays

The History of Pi Essays - Pi, Approximations Of, Free Essays Pi The History of Pi A little known verse in the bible reads And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other; it was round all about, and his height was five cubits; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it about(I Kings 7, 23). This passage from the bible demonstrates the ancient nature of the irrational number pi. Pi in fact is mentioned in a number of verses throughout the bible. In II Chronicles 4,2, in the passage describing the building of the great temple of Solomon which was built around 950BC, pi is given as equal to three. This value is not very accurate at all and should not even be considered accurate for its time, however it should be noted that precision was not needed for the task that was being performed and we should let the general concept of pi that the biblical characters posses impress us. Present knowledge suggests that the concept of pi first developed in 2000 BC in two separate cultures. The Babylonians used pi at a value of 25/8 while an entirely different culture, the ancient Egyptians used pi at a value of 256/81. While the biblical calculation of pi=3 most likely came from crude measurement, there is strong reason to believe, because of the relative accuracy of the values, that the Babylonians and Egyptians found pi by means of mathematical equations. In the Egyptian Rhind Papyrus, which is dated around 1650 BC, there is strong evidence supporting that the Egyptians used 4(8/9)2 =3.16 for their value of pi. At that point in history, and for the majority of modern history, pi was not seen as an irrational number as it is today. The next culture that investigated pi was the ancient Greeks. Starting in 434 BC Greeks were unraveling the mysteries of pi. The mathematician Anaxagoras made an unsuccessful attempt at finding pi, which he called squaring the circle and in 414 BC, 20 years after Anaxagoras failed in his attempt to square the circle, Aristophanes refers to the work of Anaxagoras in his comedy The Birds. It took over 100 years for the Greeks to finally find a value for pi. In 240 BC Archimedes of Syracuse showed that 223/71*pi*22/7. Archimedes knew, what so many people today do not, that pi does not equal 22/7 and he made no claim to have discovered the exact value of pi. However if we take the average of his two bounds we obtain pi=3.1418, which was an error of about 0.0002. Archimedes found the most accurate value of pi up to that time and his value would be used exclusively until the next discovery in the world of pi. The next major finding concerning pi did not occur in the western world, but in China by Tsu Chung-chih who approximated pi at 355/113 in 480 AD. Next to nothing except for this work is known about Tsu Chung-chihs life but it is very unlikely that he had any awareness of Archimedes work. We shall now notice how during the dark ages of Europe, the lead in the research of pi is passed to the East. Aryabhata, working on his own in Persia without any outside information in 515 AD was able to approximate pi to 3 decimal places. A mathematician from Baghdad named AlKhwarizimi worked with pi however the most accurate finding of pi to date was found even more east in Samarkand by Al-Khashi. In 1430 AD he approximated pi to 16 decimal places, the most to date. His work however, would be the last of note from the east as the European Renaissance brought about a whole new mathematical world. The first notable discovery in the approximation of pi from the European Renaissance was by Viete in 1593 AD. He expressed pi as an infinite product by using only 2s and square roots. In 1610 Ludolph van Ceulen demonstrated the new thought coming out of the Renaissance by calculating pi to 35 decimal places. Around the same time, Snell refined Archimedess method of calculating pi, and Snells work was used by Grienberger to calculate pi to 39 decimal places in 1630. In 1655 Wallis showed that pi/2=2/1*2/3*4/3*4/5*6/5*6/7*8/7*8/9..... The 18th centuary brought about great

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