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History: Some of the first direct documented history is from records from about 2000 B.C. At this time documentation reveals that man grasped the significance of the constant, that is today denoted as Pi, and they had found a rough approximation of its value. Before this there is circumstantial archeological evidence that Pi had been understood. Artifacts and archeological sites have been uncovered that were most likely constructed with an understanding of Pi. It would have been quite difficult to build without this understanding. The following is a brief table chronicling the documented history of Pi:

Pi's History

ca. 2000 B.C. Babylonians use Pi = 3 1/8
ca. 2000 B.C. Egyptians use Pi = (16/9)^2 = 3.1605
12th Century B.C Chinese use Pi = 3
ca. 550 B.C. I Kings vii, 23 implies Pi = 3
3rd century B.C. Archimedes establishes 3 10/71 < Pi <3 1/7 and Pi is approximately 3.141163
2nd century A.D. Ptolemy uses Pi = 377/120 = 3.14166....
3rd century A.D. Chung Hing uses square-root of 10 = 3.16....
1665-1666 Newton discovers calculus and calculates Pi to at least 16 decimal places
1949 ENIAC (the first electronic computer) is programmed to compute 2,037 decimal places of Pi
Today The Project Gutenburg has Pi to 1.2 million decimal places.

For a complete history see "A History of Pi," by Petr Beckmann, St. Martin's Press, 1971


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