PNC Math Club Presentation on Oct. 22

The Purdue University North Central Math Club will host the presentation, “Indiana Pols Forced to Eat Humble Π: The Curious History of an Irrational Number” on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at noon in Library-Student-Faculty Building Room 170A, located adjacent to the PNC cafeteria. The event is free and open to the public. Guests may bring a lunch or purchase one in the cafeteria.

Dr. Edray Goins, associate professor of Mathematics at the Purdue University West Lafayette campus describes his topic, “In 1897, Indiana physician Edwin J. Goodwin believed he had discovered a way to square the circle and proposed a bill to Indiana Rep. Taylor I. Record to secure Indiana’s claim to fame for his discovery. About the time the debate about the bill concluded, Purdue University professor C. A. Waldo serendipitously came across the claimed discovery and pointed out its mathematical impossibility to the lawmakers. It had been shown 15 years before by German mathematician Ferdinand von Lindemann, that it was impossible to square the circle because  is an irrational number. This fodder became ignominiously known as the “Indiana Pi Bill” as Goodwin’s result would force Π = 3.2.”

In this talk, Goins will review this humorous history of the irrationality of Π. He will introduce a method to compute its digits, present Lindemann’s proof of its irrationality (following a simplification by Miklo Laczkovich), discuss the relationship with the Hermite-Lindemann-Weierstrass theorem and explain how Edwin J. Goodwin came to his erroneous conclusion in the first place.

The PNC Math Club encourages persons of all interests who have a curiosity about Math to attend and learn more. Non-Math majors are welcomed. Questions are encouraged.

The Math Club meets throughout the academic year and sponsors discussions and informational presentations on various aspects of mathematics and related fields. All events are open to the public.

Additional information about this event may be obtained by contacting Togbe, at  785-5200, ext. 5458 or atogbe@pnc.edu. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Togbe.