Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number

Front Cover
Prometheus Books, 2004 - Mathematics - 324 pages
1 Review
We all learned that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is called pi and that the value of this algebraic symbol is roughly 3.14. What we weren't told, though, is that behind this seemingly mundane fact is a world of mystery, which has fascinated mathematicians from ancient times to the present. Simply put, pi is weird. Mathematicians call it a "transcendental number" because its value cannot be calculated by any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and square root extraction.

In this delightful layperson's introduction to one of math's most interesting phenomena, Drs. Posamentier and Lehmann review pi's history from prebiblical times to the 21st century, the many amusing and mind-boggling ways of estimating pi over the centuries, quirky examples of obsessing about pi (including an attempt to legislate its exact value), and useful applications of pi in everyday life, including statistics.

This enlightening and stimulating approach to mathematics will entertain lay readers while improving their mathematical literacy.

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Review: Pi: A Biography of the World's Most Mysterious Number

User Review  - Nick - Goodreads

Never made it all the way through this, but hope to finish it someday... I love this stuff. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fpagan - LibraryThing

Includes a lot of unusual problem examples, but not terribly demanding. The first 100,000 digits of pi are listed on pp 246-273. Read full review

Contents

Acknowledgments
7
What Is n?
13
The History of n
41
Copyright

9 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

Alfred S. Posamentier is dean of the School of Education and professor of mathematics education at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Previously, he had the same positions at the City College of the City University of New York for forty years.  He has published over fifty-five books in the area of mathematics and mathematics education, including The Fabulous Fibonacci Numbers (with Ingmar Lehmann). 
 
Ingmar Lehmann is retired from the mathematics faculty at Humboldt University in Berlin. For many years he led the Berlin Mathematics Student Society for gifted secondary-school students, with which he is still closely engaged today.  He is the coauthor with Alfred S. Posamentier of The Secrets of TrianglesThe Glorious Golden Ratio, and three other books.




From the Hardcover edition.

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