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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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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.

Review

"A pure delight . . . Entirely offbeat, which gives it its charm." --The Denver Post

"A very readable account." --Science

"A cheerful work." --Scientific American

About the Author

Petr Beckmann was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1924. Until 1963, he worked as a research scientist for the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, when he was invited as a Visiting Professor to the University of Colorado, where he decided to stay permanently as professor of electrical engineering. He has authored eleven books and more than fifty scientific papers, mostly on probability theory and electromagnetic wave propagation.
  GalenWiley | Apr 20, 2015 |
I like books about the history of math and numbers, but this one was a bit of a slog at times. Lots of equations. It also was strangely dated, what with the author's frequent scathing commentary on the USSR. He also feels a strong hatred for the Romans. Putting all that aside, there are some really interesting nuggets here and there, but in general I imagine this book would only appeal to the truly diehard number nerds. ( )
1 vote melydia | Mar 22, 2015 |
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 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:56 -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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