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π

3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679


Go to external links
Go to a chart of Ancient civilizations that knew about pi
Go to a breif history of pi
Go to a apperance of pi in the Bible
Go to a list of links to facts


Ancient civilizations that knew about pi
Culture/Person
Approximate Time
Value Used
Babylonians 2000 BC 3 + 1/8 = 3.125
Egyptians 2000 BC 3.16045
China 1200 BC 3
Bible mentions it 550 BC 3
Archimedes 250 BC 3.1418
Hon Han Shu 130 sqrt (10) = 3.1622
Ptolemy 150 3.14166
Etc...    

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A very brief history of pi
Pi is a very old number. We know that the Egyptians and the Babylonians knew about the existence of the constant ratio pi, although they didn't know its value nearly as well as we do today. They had figured out that it was a little bigger than 3; the Babylonians had an approximation of 3 1/8 (3.125), and the Egyptians had a somewhat worse approximation of 4*(8/9)^2 (about 3.160484), which is slightly less accurate and much harder to work with. For more, see
A History of Pi by Petr Beckman (Dorset Press). The modern symbol for pi π was first used in our modern sense in 1706 by William Jones, who wrote:

There are various other ways of finding the Lengths or Areas of particular Curve Lines, or Planes, which may very much facilitate the Practice; as for instance, in the Circle, the Diameter is to the Circumference as 1 to (16/5 - 4/239) - 1/3(16/5^3 - 4/239^3) + ... = 3.14159... = (see A History of Mathematical Notation by Florian Cajori). Pi (rather than some other Greek letter like Alpha or Omega) was chosen as the letter to represent the number 3.141592... because the letter π in Greek, pronounced like our letter 'p', stands for 'perimeter'.
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1 Kings 7:23 reads:

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a circumference of thirty cubits to measure around it.

Thirty divided by ten gives a value of 3. However, it is interesting to note that the word circumference happens to be spelled with an extra letter. Since in Hebrew all letters are also numbers, if we take the ratio of the value for the word as it is written (111) to the normal spelled word (106) we get the number 1.047169811... If you multiply this number by 3 you get 3.141509434... An amazingly close approximation to π!
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External Links
10,000 digits of pi!!
Book about pi!
Find things in pi
Download digits of pi!
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Facts about pi


Awesome Pi Facts1
Awesome Pi Facts2
Awesome Pi Facts3
Awesome Pi Facts4
Awesome Pi Facts5
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