Re: The big Pi debate

From: Heinz Stucki (
Date: Sat May 09 1998 - 13:03:18 EEST


Dear Joe and rp-listAn engineer, a physicist and a mathematician get 1 and
1 to add. The engineer takes hispocket calculator, types and says 2. The
physicist makes a few attempts, after one hour he says: the result is 2
plus minus 0.1. The mathematician comes on the next day, he not yet has the
result, but he can prove that it exists.

Iit's quite the same with pi. The engineer takes his pocket calculator and
knows what pi is. The physicist is happy to know how exact his result is
but the mathematician has much problems with pi.
Pi is not even not a rational number but even not an algebraic number, that
means you cannot express pi by an equation x*x -? = 0. Even as most numbers
are not algebraic, only a few of them are known. Thats why mathematicians
are happy to know pi.

Dr. Heinz Stucki
University of Zurich

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