13 books
—
2 voters

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

Start by marking “A History of Pi” as Want to Read:

# A History of Pi

by

HARDCOVER with Dust Jacket - published by Barnes and Noble.

Hardcover, 202 pages

Published
March 21st 2007
by Marboro Books
(first published January 1st 1970)

## Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book,
please sign up.

## Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about
A History of Pi,
please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

## Community Reviews

Showing 1-30

What the world needs now are more opinionated and bellicose mathematicians, and I’m itching to pumme ...more

As a history of pi, it kind of doesn't really work for a couple of reasons. First of all, its not really a history of pi. Its more like a history of mathematics in general. But even there, its far too anecdotal to serve as any real history lesson. Beckmann jumps and skips from one era to another giving you the lowdown on a random sampling ...more

However, when the first few examples he gives of how the ancients found their values for pi are rendered into oh-so-simple differential calc ...more

Although a little outdated in the last ...more

1. Chinese - Lui Hui’s (3rd century) Algorithm - With this method Zu Chongzhi obtained the eight-digit result: 3.1415926 < π < 3.1415927, which held the world record for the most accurate value of π for 1200 years, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Hui...

2. Japanese - Seki Takakazu (1642 – 1708 ) who knew Pi to 10 decimal places https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seki_Ta... ...more

Mar 01, 2015
Jeff
rated it
it was ok
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
mathochists?

Shelves:
numbiz,
non-fiction

Dear Goodreads Admins:

Please rig your system so that the average star rating for this book is equal to the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, rounded to three significant digits.

Thanks,

--jeff

P.S. I am still almost as ignorant about π as i was

Please rig your system so that the average star rating for this book is equal to the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, rounded to three significant digits.

Thanks,

--jeff

P.S. I am still almost as ignorant about π as i was

*before*reading this book. Disappointing.For reasons that have never been understood, π has received far more attention than all of the other constants. Even though other numbers, such as e, the base of the natural logarithms, are ju ...more

I stumbled across it in the process of looking for Beckmann's monograph "The Scattering of Electromagnetic Waves from Rough Surfaces" for some E/M research I was involved with. It's a great treatise, but that's beside the point. Next to it on the shelf was "A History of Pi."

Pi itself is an interesting subject, but Beckmann is only hijacking the fundamental constant to tell the broader story of the history of mathematics. Each milestone, ea ...more

Jan 06, 2019
Roberto Rigolin F Lopes
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
favorites

We are in 1970, Petr assumes that history of pi matches well with history of human civilization. After all, we are tool-wielding animals (from a quoted in the book). Given a century (say between - 2000 and < 1970), our sophistication computing pi is related to scientific developments in that time window. And Petr dares to go through the centuries sharing his sharp opinion on civilization (he is hilarious sometimes). For example, some religious texts (say > 1) were happy with pi = 3. But, m
...more

There are some parts of this book where the math becomes too complicated for my not so mathematical mind, but the author does a pretty good job of simplifying quite a bit of it for the non-mathematician.

He does often show his bias against religion - particularly Christianity - p ...more

My biggest complaint is how much of the book really

*isn't*about pi. Entire chapters are about historical periods and other breakthroughs in mathematics with a spattering of " ...more

**An interesting history**

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could spend 220 pages talking about one number. It’s even harder to imagine how otherwise sane people would spend years trying to outdo each other in the number of decimal places they could achieve in calculating pi. That being said, the book turned out to be pretty entertaining. It has some interesting historical notes on great mathematicians and scholars as well as some righteous bashing of the church, the state, and the conquerors for sup ...more

He was this cranky eastern European engineering professor and I am sure he was quite a character in real life, but that character adds just the perfect flavor to this material!

Especially the last chapter on what computer can and will do for society is his time far ahead.

...moreIn 1486, Torquemada sentenced the Spanish mathematician Valmes to be burned at the stake because Valmes had claimed to have found the solution of the quartic equation. It was the will of God, maintained the Grand Inquisitor of the Holy Office of the Inquisit

There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
Be the first to start one »

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“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 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.”
—
2 likes

“The architecture of the thugs also differs from that of normal societies. It can often be recognized by the megalomaniacal style of their public buildings and facilities. The Moscow subway is a faithful copy of the London Underground, except that its stations and corridors are filled with statues of homo sovieticus, a fictitious species that stands (or sits on a tractor), chin up, chest out, belly in, heroically gazing into the distance with a look of grim determination. The Romans had similar tastes. Their public latrines were lavishly decorated with mosaics and marbles. When a particularly elaborately decorated structure at Puteoli was dug up by archaeologists in the last century, they thought at first that they had discovered a temple; but it turned out to be a public latrine.”
—
1 likes

More quotes…
perfect because that is wh ...more

Mar 14, 2019 10:29AM