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Publisher's Summary

No number has captured the attention and imagination of people throughout the ages as much as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Pi is infinite and, in The Joy of Pi it proves to be infinitely intriguing. With incisive historical insight and a refreshing sense of humor, David Blatner explores the many facets of pi and humankind's fascination with it - from the ancient Egyptians and Archimedes to Leonardo da Vinci and the modern-day Chudnovsky brothers, who have calculated pi to eight billion digits with a homemade supercomputer. The Joy of Pi is a book of many parts. Breezy narratives recount the history of pi and the quirky stories of those obsessed with it. Sidebars document fascinating pi trivia. Dozens of snippets and factoids reveal pi's remarkable impact over the centuries. Mnemonic devices teach how to memorize pi to many hundreds of digits (or more, if you're so inclined). Pi-inspired poems, limericks, and jokes offer delightfully "square" pi humor.
A tribute to all things pi, The Joy of Pi is sure to foster a newfound affection and respect for the big number with the funny little symbol.
©1990 by Lars Erickson
Altered Inventions, 2002 by Lars Erickson
Published by arrangement with Walker & Co.
1997 David Blatner
(P)2002 Random House, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Chukwuma Onyeije, MD on 01-13-04

A great start for those who love math.

I think that the book "A beautiful mind" did a great deal to rekindle the love for mathematics in many of us. In school I certainly remember the drudgery of mathematics, and with the exception of my 10th grade math teacher most instructors were simply un-inspiring.

I have recently started to read about the history and the theory of mathematics in my leisure and have found that it is a relaxing, albeit unorthodox diversion.

This book is excellent in terms of giving the history and providing interesting pieces of the fascinating people who have worked with this number. Unlike other reviewers, I found it captivating. As with many audio books, I would recommend obtaining a copy of the print version also, because some of the equations need to be "seen" rather than just heard to truly appreciate them.

This book is clearly too basic for people who are acquainted with mathematical history or theoretical aspects of recent math theory, but for someone like myself, who finds this kind of information interesting and challenging I give it my highest recommendation.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Sean on 05-06-03

Interesting, if superficial and myopic

An enjoyable enough romp through the mystery, history, and personalities surrounding the elusive ratio, but after illustrating and celebrating the many paradigm-shifts involving the search for and understanding of pi, e.g., Archimedean or electronic, the author spends an entire chapter making fun of cyclometricians (circle-squarers), never entertaining (or admitting) that the next leap in pi studies (if there is such a thing) MIGHT be among them, and that those who in retrospect are now called visionaries in mathematics, were at one time considered cranks by the establishmentarians they displaced. Also, it could be difficult for someone not well versed in mathematics to follow the formulas recited in the audio format, but this is kept to a minimum, and you can always "rewind."

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22 of 27 people found this review helpful

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