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ITA 2014



The history of Pi, says the author, though a small part of the history of mathematics, is nevertheless a mirror of the history of man. Petr Beckmann holds up this mirror, giving the background of the times when Pi made progress — and also when it did not, because science was being stifled by militarism or religious fanaticism. The mathematical level of this book is flexible, and there is plenty for readers of all ages and interests.




Petr Beckmann was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1924. Until 1963, he worked as a research scientist for the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, when he was invited as a Visiting Professor to the University of Colorado, where he decided to stay permanently as professor of electrical engineering.


Dr. Beckmann has authored 11 books and more than 50 scientific papers, mostly on probability theory and electromagnetic wave propagation. History is one of his side interests; another is linguistics (he is fluent in five languages and he has worked out a new generative grammar which enables a computer to construct trillions of grammatical sentences from a dictionary of less than 100 unprocessed words).


He also publishes a monthly pro-science, pro-technology, pro-free enterprise newsletter Access to Energy, in which he promotes the viewpoint that clean energy can be made plentiful, but that access to it is blocked by government interference and environmental paranoia.

BECKMANN, Petr. A History of Pi. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1983.


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