Autumn is back to celebrate Pi day!

Intended Audience:  Teachers, prospective teachers, and parents (public, private, homeschool).

In this video, Autumn and I describe the number Pi and say a little bit about the history of one of the most famous numbers.  Happy Pi day!

Understanding and calculating Pi has a long history in which almost every culture from all around the world contributed. It is truly a “universal” number in that sense. Here is a brief history of π (to learn more, go here):

  • The ancient Babylonians about 4000 years ago in the Middle East approximated the value for π to be 3.125.
  • In the Rhind Papyrus (ca.1650 BC) found in the northern part of Africa (Egypt) gave an approximate value of 3.1605 for π.
  • The first calculation of π was done by Archimedes of Syracuse (287–212 BC), one of the greatest mathematics researchers to ever live. Not only did he calculate π to be between 3 1/7 and 3 10/71, but the method he developed to do this, the method of exhaustion, later became one of the central ideas behind integral calculus.
  • A mathematician (whose name is lost to history) from India approximated π to five digits in the 5th century AD.
  • Also in the 5th century AD, a brilliant Chinese mathematician named Zu Chongzhi (429–501) calculated the value of π to be 355/113, which approximates π to 7 digits.
  • In the 15th century AD, Mādhava of Sangamagrāma, another mathematician from India and one of the greatest mathematicians of the Middle Ages, developed the first series that approximated π. Like Archemedes, Mādhava’s ideas became central to calculus a few centuries later.
  • With the invention of Calculus in the 17th century, mathematicians from Europe were able to approximate π to several hundred digits.
  • Today, we have super computers that approximate π to many trillions of digits!

As always, comments are welcomed.

CHANNEL: Growing up with Eureka
© 2021 Autumn Baldridge and Scott Baldridge

About Scott Baldridge

Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, LSU. Geometric topologist: gauge theory, exotic 4-manifolds, knot theory. Author: Elementary Mathematics for Teachers.
This entry was posted in Growing Up With Eureka and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Autumn is back to celebrate Pi day!

  1. elivesey2013 says:

    It is so good to see the growth of your daughter and her accomplishments as a budding mathematician. Great to hear you Scott and see that you are still doing great things for the math community. Eleanore


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