Sunday, June 18, 2006

Engraved on the Palms of My Hands

A passion for infinity by any means possible: Ludolph van Ceulen, a German from the 1500s living in the Netherlands, spent his life solving for the perimeter of a 4,611,686,018,427,387,904 (262) sided regular polygon. With some modifications to an equation from eighteen hundred years earlier he calculated π to 35 digits, more than doubling the accuracy of his contemporaries. It took a century for anyone to usurp his effort, which was engraved on his tombstone.

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