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Who Discovered Pi?

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The discovery of pi lies on a long list of chronology. The history of pi goes back to Ancient Egypt. The earliest application of pi was in Solomon’s Temple around 950 BC where the value of pi was assumed to be three. The Great Pyramid of Giza from 2500 BC has also implemented the value of pi. All of these were the application of pi in a form of a structure.

Some of the earliest application of Pi: Solomon's Temple and the Great Pyramid of GizaAn example of the application of Pi was in the construction of the Molten Sea (picture, lower left) in Solomon’s Temple. The value of pi was calculated as 3. One of the oldest example for the application of the value of pi was in the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The value of pi was needed to calculate how big the base of the pyramid need to be so that you can built a pyramid according to your specified height.

Everyone had their own value of π

The representation of pi in a text form was first introduced in 1900 BC. The Egyptians calculated pi as 256/81 while the Babylonians calculated pi as 25/8, which was pretty accurate at the time (3.1250). The Indians had also calculated the value of pi, around 600 BC, as (9785/5568)2 ≈ 3.088. Then around 150 BC or earlier, Indians start using pi as √10  ≈ 3.1622.

The value of π got more accurate

One of the first mathematician to contribute to the discovery of pi was Archimedes. He tried to measure the value of pi following scientific, mathematical and geometrical process and came up with an average of 3.14185 in 240 – 250 B.C. In 265 B.C., a Chinese mathematician named Liu Hui provided an algorithmic solution that was much simpler to calculate the value of pi. The result of his solution was 3.1416.

Accuracy eventually went up to 100 decimal places

Then, in 480 B.C., another Chinese mathematician showed the value of pi as 355/113 with the help of Liu Hui’s algorithm. In the 17th century, James Gregory and Gottfried Leibniz came up with the Gregory-Leibniz series to calculate the value of pi, accurate up to 11 decimal places. The Persian mathematician, Jamshīd al-Kāshī made the calculation to 16 decimal places. Ludolph van Ceulen, John Wallis and Isaac Newton developed mathematical formulas to calculate the value of pi up to 100 decimal places. Finally, scientists discovered that pi is such a value, it can’t be calculated by any means of numerical calculation. Thus, the discovery of pi can be credited to all of these mathematicians.

More on pi: Facts about pi.