Who Invented Pi?

Based on historical facts about pi, the Egyptians were the first to discover and use it. The Great Pyramid measured 1760 cubits with a height of 280 cubits. The equation 1760/280 is equal 2 x pi. Note that this is archaeological evidence; there are no specific Egyptian texts that specifically mention pi.

An Overview of Pi History

The history of the pi is usually divided into three eras. The ancient period was the time it was studied in geometric terms. The classic era took place in 17th Europe following the invention of calculus. The current one is the digital period, where computers are used to analyze and compute the data.

The Susa math tablets (c 2000 BC) can shed light on some facts about pi. These were set down in cuneiform and discovered in Shush, Iran. There it is said that the ratio of the circumference of a circle compared to a hexagonal perimeter is 1:0.96.

This is taken by some experts as a pi=3.125. Most of the ancient civilizations located an area by multiplying a square of the circumference by 1/12.

The Ahmes Papyrus

While no Egyptian texts state their use of pi, some math experts suggest otherwise. The Ahmes papyrus (or Rind papyrus) seem to indicate some awareness on their part. It was composed around 1820 BC.

It is mostly concerned with problems about locating the circle’s area from the diameter. When studying the facts about pi, it is about multiplying the diameter by 8/9. This is the p/4. From the text in the papyrus, the value is at least p= (256/81) =3.1605.


The Moscow Papyrus

There is another Egyptian papyrus called the Moscow papyrus (where it is kept). It deals with mathematical problems. One problem is about a basket area 4 times the diameter square times 8/9 square. Some experts have determined that it is an open ended semi-cylinder. In terms of pi, the error is only a small value. The answer is still correct even if the shape is hemispherical.

The Greeks

The Greek mathematician Archimedes (250 BC) knew some facts about pi. He stated that two ratios (area to radius squared and circumference to diameter) were equal. Archimedes was not the first one to recognize it, but he was the first to show proof of it. His statement that it is between 223/71 and 22/7 are the first pi ranges used. The 22/7 is now known as the Archimedean value.

The Use of the Letters

Prior to the 17th century, the value was never expressed in symbols. The use of the letter was first used in 1647. English math teacher William Oughtred set it down as p.d. William Jones in 1706 reduced it to just p. The Swiss mathematician Leonard Euler was the one who made usage of p popular. Numerous symbols were used to express 3.14 but as time went on, only the p remained.

The facts about pi’s origin will only be known through further research. The ancient Egyptians seemed to be the first but there are still a lot of unanswered questions regarding its roots.