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A History of Pi [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Peter Beckman , Petr Beckmann
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31. Dezember 1976
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.

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Wird oft zusammen gekauft

A History of Pi + An Imaginary Tale: The Story of [The Square Root of Minus One] (Princeton Science Library) + E: The Story of a Number (Princeton Science Library)
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  • Taschenbuch: 208 Seiten
  • Verlag: Griffin; Auflage: 0019 (31. Dezember 1976)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0312381859
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312381851
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 21,5 x 13,5 x 1,3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.6 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (20 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 116.058 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"A pure delight . . . Entirely offbeat, which gives it its charm." --The Denver Post

"A very readable account." --Science

"A cheerful work." --Scientific American


Documents the calculation, numerical value, and use of the ratio from 2000 B.C. to the modern computer age, detailing social conditions in eras when progress was made.

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen A Slice of Pi You Can Live Without 28. September 1997
Since I'm somewhat of a fan of books that cover the history of science and math, I had to buy this one when I saw it. In the preface, the author notes that since he is neither a mathematician nor a historian he is the perfect one to write this book. It turns out that both his math and his history and leave much to be desired.
Regarding mathematical proofs, Beckmann made a concious decision to ply the middle ground between mere hand-waving and totally rigorous proofs. The end result is a scattering of proofs that are neither easy enough to simply read and understand, nor detailed enough to follow to completion.
Petr Beckmann's treatment of history gives the impression that the world has been populated by only two classes of inhabitants: the evil and barbaric (Romans, Christians, Soviets) or the enlightened (Greeks, Chinese, English). His loathing for the Romans is particularly intense, and distracting to the extreme, especially since he takes random swipes at them throughout the entire first half of the book.
There are interesting tidbits scattered throughout the book, but most of these can be gleaned from other history of math books. Much of the book is also dated, such as his treatment of the four-color problem, which was proven recently. This can be forgiven, since the book is over twenty years old, but it does reduce its value as a read even lower than its minimal initial level.
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Von Ein Kunde
The cold-war era spawned a group of people who believed that the greatest threat to humanity was Soviet Communism. Beckmann was a mordant, informed example of kind. In reading this book, I got the feeling that he couldn't write a grocery list without taking a few good swipes at the Russians. He had a few other targets on his list: anti-nuclear activists, new-age mystification pedlars, and organized religion, at least in the forms that have achieved totalitarian power in society.

Like the Irish of James Joyce's Ulysses, he finds the Roman Empire to be an overblown, violent, anti-intellectual tyranny. Unlike the Irish, he thinks that the Brits are wonderful. After all, they took good care of Isaac Newton.

Scattered around this leavening of political rhetoric is a mathematical history of pi. Here, too, there's a polemic. Beckman dosen't like modern math teaching methods. Nonetheless, the material is interesting. You can imagine the sarcastic field-day that he gets out of the Indiana State Legislature's near-miss at legislating pi to be equal to 3.

The book ends with a badly dated and rather uninformed exploration of computerized calculations of pi.

All in all, I found the book to be a window into a rather obsessive personality. I'm not sure I care enough about the various calculations of pi to justify the toasty feeling of reading a 100 page flame.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen It's Pi, Stupid 23. Dezember 1999
Von Aguagado
If you're curious about where things like Pi come from, and you don't already know, this book is probably a good place to start. It is not quite as comprehensive as I would have liked; Beckmann overlooks some explanations that he probably assumed would have been so obvious as to offend the reader. But the lack of a complete explanation for some points is not fatal to the book. After all, the subject matter has a deliberately narrow focus.
Some of the criticisms have pointed out Beckmann's tendency to use this book as a sounding board for his biases. And, to be sure, the book is peppered with curious asides that are largely irrelevant to the tale of Pi. Happily, they can be overlooked without detracting from the main story.
If I were addressing my comments to the readers of Grisham or King, I'd be concerned about the power of those comments to offend. But mindful that the 'average' reader of 'A History of Pi' is nothing like the 'average reader' of books generally, I suspect most readers will be either amused or bored by these little diversions, but that few will be offended. (I was amused by Beckmann, who reminds me of a cantankerous uncle.) Overall, the reader comes away with a greater appreciation for the history of this curious number.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen An antidote to today's hyper-sensitive history 22. März 2000
Von Ein Kunde
My kind of book: A seemingly mundane subject that packs a punch. Those expecting an exhaustive mathematical treatise should remember that this is a HISTORY of pi, including the events and people that colored it. Beckmann is opinionated, and thankfully so! History is a story composed of characters that either advance or impede human progress, and Beckmann shines the spotlight on both, heaping scorn and reverence without regard to who's ox is being gored. In the process, he manages to annoy all the right groups (organized religion, fascists, communists) making him unpopular with some, but rare is the factual rebuttal to any of his charges. Indeed, the primary complaint seems not to be that he's wrong but that he's particularly unforgiving of history's morons. There's enough conceptual math and intriguing history to please both mathematicians and historians, particularly those tired of the politically correct drivel that so permeates popular science today. A truly great read.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Brilliant and controversial -- Which a book should be! 7. September 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Dr. Petr Beckmann was never one to mince words. He quotes a biblical passage that strongly implies that pi equals 3, and while he is never disrespectful to the Bible, he does mock the tortured attempts of some fundamentalists to reconcile this passage with the actual value of pi.
He also mocks the Indiana State Legislature (which, in 1897, nearly passed a law that set the value of pi at about 9.23), and Theodore Heisel (who, in 1931, wrote a mathematical treatise that ignored 4000 years of progress in determining pi).

But he praises Archimedes and Newton, among others, for their heroic and quiet progress in determining the value and application of pi. And, sadly, he concludes that the Heisels of the world are more numerous than the Archimedes.

Great book. But it must be read with an open mind.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Great story-telling!
I read this book some 30 years ago and cherished it. (I did lend it to somebody, who obviously liked it too, so I had to buy it again...)
The stories are great! Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 9 Monaten von Gabor Ellmann veröffentlicht
3.0 von 5 Sternen lebendig, hohes Niveau, trotzdem verständlich
Das Werk empfiehlt sich deswegen weil es zu einem wohlbekannten Thema fast alles, was im Laufe der Jahrtausende entdeckt wurde, anschaulich macht.Deswegen sehr empfehlenswert!
Am 31. Mai 2000 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Book of amazement
After reading this book I felt like I was part of something that I had never felt before. I felt that I was part of the history of pi baecause I knew basically everything about... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 29. Januar 2000 von Matt Martz
2.0 von 5 Sternen Historiographical Rant + Dense Geometric Proofs = 3.14159...
The thematic dissonance Dr. Beckmann serves up in this ostensible history of science treatise starts off very amusing, grows annoying towards the middle and ends up with you... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 10. Dezember 1999 von Jon McAuliffe
2.0 von 5 Sternen entertaining but obnoxious
The author sounds like someone I'd love to meet at the Oak Bar for a few martinis--but over a book's length his initially amusing tantrums and diatribes about the fools of history... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 23. August 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen A mathematics book for the book shelf!
I bought this book in hardcover over 20 years ago. The book has been translated into over 20 languages and has served as a stimulus and inspiration for hundreds of future... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 12. Juli 1999 von Charlestonideas@hotmail.com
5.0 von 5 Sternen Beckmann's Book was great
I liked A History of Pi. It showed how pi evolved into what it is today and it also contributed to the very little number of pi books available.
Veröffentlicht am 11. Juni 1999 von Paul Johns
4.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting and educational
Beckmann's intention is to show how the development of pi mirrored the general development of science and technology (and thought in general) throughout history. Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 21. Januar 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Funny, erudite, and as MORAL as it is LOGICAL
Read "Consilience"? So far as "Consilience" has points to make, this little book makes the same points, but makes them with biting wit-- and in less than half... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 6. Dezember 1998 von THOMAS P FORD
5.0 von 5 Sternen Anti-Christian? Pr0-Zionist? I hardly think so.
It's a shame Beckmann wrote so few books in his life. This is a gem, a sparkling crest. Ideological bent? Yes, but with humor and a sense of right and wrong.
Veröffentlicht am 6. August 1998 von Philip Levy
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