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Re: The Sand Reckoner in Your ‘Langs

From:Alex Fink <000024@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 7, 2009, 19:58
On Tue, 7 Apr 2009 21:34:03 +0200, Veoler <veoler@...> wrote:

>Eldin Raigmore wrote: >> But I have a question about >> <> >> ; if the speakers are illiterate why do they have words for pi (hug) and the >> square-root of two (hii)?  What happened to make many of them need these >> words before many of them needed to write anything down? > >When manufacturing wheels and managing square-shaped fields of corn?
Yeah, even so. Certainly wheels predated an accurate conception of the value of pi *here*. The Babylonians, when they did need the value, worked with 25/8, the Egyptians 256/81 (and ISTR that the Chinese sometimes used sqrt(10)). They might not have a name for the number, especially if they don't realise it's not an irrational, but just some approximation expressed however they express other fractions. And for what it's worth, if you want to give a name to one of these circular numbers, two pi is the most natural one (being the actual period of the imaginary exponential, etc.); it's by historical accident that half two pi is the one we've bestowed a name on. Have you given thought to this? Alex