This book documents the history of pi from the dawn of mathematical time to the present. The story of pi reflects the most seminal, the most serious, and sometimes the most whimsical aspects of mathematics. Much significant mathematics originates with pi, and many great mathematicians have contributed to this story's unfolding.
Pi is one of the few concepts in mathematics whose mention evokes a response of recognition and interest in those not concerned professionally with the subject. Yet, despite this, no source book on pi has been published. One of the beauties of the literature on pi is that it allows for the inclusion of very modern, yet still accessible, mathematics. Mathematicians and historians of mathematics will find this book indispensable. Teachers at every level can find here ample resources for anything from individual talks and student projects to special topics courses.
The literature on pi collected herein falls into various classes. First and foremost there is a selection from the mathematical and computational literature of four millennia. There is also a variety of historical studies on the cultural significance of the number. Additionally, there is a selection of pieces that are anecdotal, fanciful, or simply amusing.