Pi Was Almost Legally Changed To 3.2

Pi Was Almost Legally Changed To 3.2

The value of pi is, always has been, and always will be 3.14... ad infinitum. But that didn't stop a man named Edward Goodwin from trying to legally redefine it as 3.2. Either the man was an extremely successful prankster, or an amateur mathematician who truly believed he had made a breakthrough. Either way, the insane tale is true: In 1897, Goodwin believed he had found a new and correct value of pi, and tried to put this finding into law in Indiana. Thankfully, it never happened, because the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter will always be pi and pi will always be 3.14...

Goodwin actually gave two values for pi (neither are correct) in this proposed bill, according Professor C.A. Waldo, a well-respected mathematician at the time: "At the outset it gave 4 as the true value . . . while towards the end it gave 3.2..." He somehow persuaded Indiana State Representative Taylor I. Record to introduce this bill on January 18, 1897, and Record did. The bill passed in the House with no resistance. However, the bill was stopped when it reached the Senate. Close call. Get the whole story in the video below.

How Pi Was Nearly Changed To 3.2

A close call for Indiana.

Pi Math In "The Simpsons"

What is e to the i pi?

How Did Archimedes Calculate Pi?

Great work!

See all




World War II

Get smarter every day! Like us on Facebook.
You'll get the most interesting and engaging topics in your feed, straight from our team of experts.