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A History of π (Pi) by Petr Beckmann
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A History of π (Pi) (1971)

by Petr Beckmann

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A very strange book. Enjoyable overall, but filled with non sequiturs and rants against people (Aristotle, Romans) and ideas (socialism) that that author, who must have been a real character, doesn't like. ( )
  joe.dane | Aug 19, 2013 |
This book is exactly what it says: a history of pi from ropes in wet sand to computers. It is a little dated at almost fourty years old, but considering the thousands of years of mathematical history, it covers the developments of the calculation of pi very well. The author is opinionated, but that does not affect his thoroughness. There are numerous geometric proofs and formulous throughout, but they support the text without being the focus. The writing is straight forward and factual. I thought this was an excellent presentation of the subject. ( )
1 vote ASBiskey | Feb 28, 2009 |
a bit of a rant, with (to my mind) needless disparagement of aristotle (among others). a somewhat irritating and inconsistent bias toward the practical ("There is no practical or scientific value in knowing more than the 17 decimal places...", p.101). digs up many interesting facts (i hope they are facts) about the discovery and calculation of π. some sections (eg computer capabilities, c.1970) dated by now. ( )
2 vote lidaskoteina | Mar 7, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312381859, Paperback)

The history of pi, says the author, though a small part of the history of mathematics, is nevertheless a mirror of the history of man. Petr Beckmann holds up this mirror, giving the background of the times when pi made progress -- and also when it did not, because science was being stifled by militarism or religious fanaticism.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:55 -0400)

The history of pi, says the author, though a small part of the history of mathematics, is nevertheless a mirror of the history of man. Petr Beckmann holds up this mirror, giving the background of the times when pi made progress and also when it did not, because science was being stifled by militarism or religious fanaticism. The mathematical level of this book is flexible, and there is plenty for readers of all ages and interests.… (more)

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