Caminos Peligrosos

Topics: Pi, Greek alphabet, Number Pages: 2 (629 words) Published: February 15, 2013
Zach Cristol February 10, 13
Period 4 A Piece of Pi

In this article, it starts out defining and looking into terms that most readers would know, hoping to get the reader comfortable and familiar with terms like perimeter, diameter, circumference, and pi. It states that pi is simply the ratio of a circle’s perimeter to its diameter symbolized by the geek letter for pi, π. Pi was originally the symbol for perimeter, and the Greek letter delta symbolized diameter. This passage by Asimov is about the pursuit and usage of pi. Finding pi came about through the desire to “find not the ratio of the particular circle you were interested in using, but a universal ratio that would hold for all circles for all time”. Pi, or the concept of pi, some may say has been discussed in the past, as far back as biblical times. It is understood to today however, that one of the closest approximations to pi remains 22/7, which is only .04 percent off from pi. The Greeks reinvented the way in looking at pi, by ironically finding the exact number. They eventually did determine pi, but being infinite, they had to bear through the “tedium of working with polygons of large numbers of sides.” This meant that they created so many polygons with in each other, trying to form a circle out of them, however as we know today, that would be an asymptote, for they might come infinitesimally close, and never reach the real value. In the sixteenth century, the fraction 355/ 113 was first used as an approximation of pi being only .000008 percent off. This very small fraction however was not exact, so the fight to find pi kept on. Francois Vieta, a French mathematician of the sixteenth century was the next to take up the challenge. He is one of the most famous math mathematician even being called the “father of algebra” for he was the one who brought variables in to the developing equation of math. He performed the algebraic equivalence of Archimedes’...