Re: 3.141592653589793238 from the forgotten verses

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. (
Date: Thu Jun 05 2003 - 16:42:04 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Roberts: "Graham and Stott"

    On Thu, 5 Jun 2003 12:27:55 -0400 "bivalve"
    <> writes:
    > Actually, I think the Indiana legislature proposal claimed pi was 4.
    > If I remember correctly, it was promoted as producing much more
    > lumber out of a log than the standard value. It was not based on
    > the Biblical text in any way. The History of Pi is at home, though.
    > As the author would gladly have seized on a chance to attack any
    > attempt at using I Kings as a guide to pi, it seems safe to assume
    > that there is no evidence for such a mistake.
    I dug out my file and noted reference to both 4 and 3.2, and the
    possibility of rounding to 3 (note the rounding in the text below).
    Edward J. Goodwin was a physician who published "Quadrature of the
    Circle" in /American Mathematical Monthly/, 1:246f (July 1894). I present
    the text of House Bill No. 246, Indiana State Legislature, 1897, so
    anyone may try to figure out the value.

    A bill for an act introducing a new mathematical truth and offered as a
    contribution to education to be used only in the State of Indiana free of
    cost by paying any royalties whatever on the same, provided it is
    accepted and adopted by the official action of the legislature of 1897.
    Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:
    It has been found that a circular area is to the square on a line equal
    to the quadrant of the circumference, as the area of an equilateral
    rectangle is to the square of one side. The diameter employed as the
    linear unit according to the present rule in computing the circle's area
    is entirely wrong, as it represents the circle's area one and one-fifth
    times the area of a square whose perimeter is equal to the circumference
    of the circle. This is because one fifth of the diameter fails to be
    represented four times in the circle's circumference. For example: if we
    multiply the perimeter of a square by one-fourth of any line one-fifth
    greater than one side, we can in like manner make the square's area to
    appear one fifth greater than the fact, as is done by taking the diameter
    for the linear unit instead of the quadrant of the circle's
    Section 2. It is impossible to compute the area of a circle using the
    diameter as the linear unit without trespassing upon the area outside of
    the circle to the extent of including one-fifth more area than is
    contained within the circle's circumference, because the square on the
    diameter produces the side of a square which equals nine when the area of
    ninety degrees equals eight. By taking the quadrant of the circle's
    circumference for the linear unit, we fulfil the requirements of both
    quadrature and rectification of the circle's circumference. Furthermore,
    it has revealed the ratio of the chord and arc of ninety degrees, which
    is as seven to eight, and also the ratio of the diagonal and one side of
    the square, which is as ten to seven, disclosing the fourth important
    fact, that the ratio of the diameter and circumference is as five fourths
    to four; and because of these facts and the further fact that the rule in
    present use fails to work both ways mathematically, it should be
    discarded as wholly wanting and misleading in practical applications.
    Section 3. In further proof of the value of the author's proposes
    contribution to education, and offered as a gift to the State of Indiana,
    is the fact of his solutions of the trisection of the angle, duplication
    of the cube and quadrature of the circle having been already accepted as
    contributions to science by the American Mathematical Monthly, the
    leading exponent of mathematical thought in this country. And be it
    remembered that these noted problems had been long since given up by
    scientific bodies as unsolvable mysteries and above man's ability to

    This bill has been erroneously declared simultaneous with the Tennessee
    Scopes trial.

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