The Life of Pi (π): From Archimedes to Eniac and Beyond

Jonathan M. Borwein, Frsc, Faa free ebook
Preamble: Pi and Popular Culture
The desire to understand , the challenge, and originally the need, to calculate ever more accurate values of , the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (see Figure 1), has challenged mathematicians — great and less great — for many many centuries and, especially recently,  has provided compelling examples of computational mathematics. Pi, uniquely in mathematics is pervasive in popular culture and the popular
I shall intersperse this largely chronological account of Pi’s mathematical status with examples of its ubiquity. More details will be found in the selected references at the end of the chapter — especially in Pi: a Source Book [7]. In [7] nearly all material not otherwise referenced may be followed up upon, as may much other material, both serious and fanciful. More recent unsubstantiated assertions are covered in Other interesting material is to be found in [18], which
includes attractive discussions of topics such as continued fractions and elliptic integrals.
Fascination with  is evidenced by the many recent popular books, television shows, and movies — even perfume — that have mentioned . In the 1967 Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold,” Kirk asks Aren’t there some mathematical problems that simply can’t be solved? And Spock ‘fries the brains’ of a rogue computer by telling it: Compute to the last digit the value of Pi. The May 6, 1993 episode of The Simpsons has the character
Apu boast I can recite pi to 40,000 places. The last digit is one. free ebook