adad-e pi (π)
Fr.: nombre pi (π)
Symbol, π, for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter in Euclidean geometry; a fundamental mathematical constant, equal to 3.14159... π is an → irrational number (Lambert, 1761) and also a → transcendental number (von Lindemann, 1882). The most accurate determination of π prior to the Scientific Revolution belongs to the Iranian mathematician Jamshid Kashani, who gave 16 correct decimal places in A.D. 1424. With the advent of → calculus and more recently the invention of powerful computers, the decimal representation of π has now been computed to more than 1012 digits.
The π notation, representing the first letter of the Gk. word περιμετρον → perimeter, was first used by the British mathematician William Jones (1675-1749) in 1706. Its use was generalized after its adoption by the Swiss mathematician Leonard Euler (1707-1783) in 1737; → number.