James's Reviews > A History of π

A History of π by Petr Beckmann
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Jul 13, 2009

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bookshelves: maths

An entertaining account of Pi in it's historical context. Beckmann has a tendency to go on tangents in an attempt to analyze why certain societies were important in Pi's history and others weren't. Some of these tangents are more interesting than others, but it is usually easy to separate Beckmann's opinion from historical fact. I was impressed with a few of the geometric presentations included (such as Descartes's method for finding Pi). I wish more information about continued fractions and their importance in relation to Pi was included. Still, Beckmann does cover a lot of material in less than 200 pages. Recommended as long as you can deal with the author's historical rants that don't directly relate to Pi.
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