# A History of Pi by Petr Beckmann

By Petr Beckmann

The historical past of pi, says the writer, notwithstanding a small a part of the background of arithmetic, is however a reflect of the historical past of guy. Petr Beckmann holds up this reflect, giving the historical past of the days whilst pi made development -- and likewise whilst it didn't, simply because technological know-how was once being stifled by way of militarism or non secular fanaticism.

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Days intact to using the calendar as a time keeper for sowing, harvesting and other activities geared to the periodicity of nature. If we do not require a calendar to be geared to a tropical year (earth's orbit), but only that it be geared to some part of the celestial clock, then the Maya calendar was more accurate than the Julian calendar, more accurate than the Egyptian (solar) calendar, and more accurate than the Babylonian (solar-lunar) calendar; it intermeshed the "gear wheels" of Sun, Moon and Venus, and was based on a more accurate "gear ratio" than the other calendars, repeating itself only once in 52 years.

1415927, an accuracy that was not attained in Europe until the 16th century. Not too much should be made of this, however. The number of decimal places to which 17 could be calculated was, from Archimedes onward, purely a matter of computational ability and perseverance. Some years ago, it was only a matter of computer programming know-how; and today it is, in principle, no more than a matter of dollars that one is willing to spend for computer time. The important point is that the Chinese, like Archimedes, had found a method that, in principle, enabled them to cakulate TT to any desired degree of accuracy.

We have traced but a single path from stone no. 35 down to the foundation stones of Euclid's cathedral. This path has many other branches (branching off where it says "among others" above), and if we had the patience, these could be traced down to the foundation stones, too. So could the paths from stone no. 3 and from the operations used in the construction (whose feasibility need not be taken for granted). Thus, the proof that the construction for squaring a rectangle as shown in the figure on p.