

The bill itself is crammed top to bottom with 19th century mathematical jargon. Even for the mathematical novice, though, one statement stands out.It seems likely that few members of the General Assembly understood it (many said so during the debate). Petr Beckmann, in his History of Pi, wrote that the bill contained "hairraising statements which not only contradict elementary geometry, but also appear to contradict each other" (p. Towards the end of the second of three sections of the bill, it says "the ratio of the diameter and circumference is as fivefourths to four." Pi is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of the circle, and the ratio 4 to 5/4 is 3.2. The House Bill 246 was referred to the House Committee on Canals, also known as the Committee on Swamp Lands. Butler, chairman of the Canals Committee, recommended that it be referred to the Committee on Education, and this was done on January 19. The Indianapolis Sentinel, on January 20, reported that the bill was "not intended to be a hoax." The article also reported that Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Geeting believed that Goodwin had found the solution to the problem of squaring the circle.(To only 18 decimal places, pi is 3.141592653589793238.) Hence, it is useful to have shorthand for this ratio of circumference to diameter.According to Petr Beckmann's A History of Pi, the Greek letter was first used for this purpose by William Jones in 1706, probably as an abbreviation of periphery, and became standard mathematical notation roughly 30 years later.


The impossibility of squaring the circle using only compass and straightedge constructions, suspected since ancient times, was rigorously proven in 1882 by Ferdinand von Lindemann.It appears therefore in areas of mathematics and the sciences having little to do with the geometry of circles, such as number theory and statistics, as well as in almost all areas of physics.The ubiquity of makes it one of the most widely known mathematical constants both inside and outside the scientific community; several books devoted to it have been published, the number is celebrated on Pi Day, and recordsetting calculations of the digits of such as these that rely on a notion of circumference, and hence implicitly on concepts of the integral calculus, are no longer common in the literature.cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction (equivalently, its decimal representation never ends and never settles into a permanent repeating pattern).Still, fractions such as 22/7 and other rational numbers are commonly used to approximate for practical reasons. Representative Record was a farmer, timber and lumber merchant.
