The Origin of Pi

Posted by M ws On Tuesday, March 26, 2013 3 comments
Everybody knows the value of pi is 3.14…er, something, but how many people know where the ratio came from?

Actually, the ratio came from nature—it’s the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter, and it was always there, just waiting to be discovered. But who discovered it? In honor of Pi Day, here’s a semi-brief history of how pi came to be known as
3.14(1592653589793238462643383279502884197169…and so on).

The history lesson

It's hard to pinpoint who, exactly, first became conscious of the constant ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter, though human civilizations seem to have been aware of it as early as 2550 BC.

The Great Pyramid at Giza, which was built between 2550 and 2500 BC, has a perimeter of 1760 cubits and a height of 280 cubits, which gives it a ratio of 1760/280, or approximately 2 times pi. (One cubit is about 18 inches, though it was measured by a person's forearm length and thus varied from one person to another.) Egyptologists believe these proportions were chosen for symbolic reasons, but, of course, we can never be too sure.

The earliest textual evidence of pi dates back to 1900 BC; both the Babylonians and the Egyptians had a rough idea of the value. The Babylonians estimated pi to be about 25/8 (3.125), while the Egyptians estimated it to be about 256/81 (roughly 3.16).

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3 comments to The Origin of Pi

  1. says:

    Proud2bMalaysian Very interesting.

    The original article suggested that the Bible had a clear idea of pi.

    Here is a suggested read I found.

  1. says:

    masterwordsmith Hi Proud2bMalaysian!

    Lovely to hear from you again. I am happy you enjoyed this post.

    Actually, I was unsure if I should post it as it was heavy going (at least for me) but I shared it because it is indeed a very interesting article.

    Thanks for sharing the link! That is also another interesting read.

    Take care and please keep in touch.

    God bless!


  1. says:

    Proud2bMalaysian I come by regularly to read your postings. Helps me save time looking for them.

    Hope you are feeling better now. Take care.

    GE13 in May? Looks like it's going to be a very keen fight.

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