Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi in the Bible? Happy Pi Day

One of the most famous mathematical statements in the Bible is in I Kings 7:23-26, describing a large cauldron, or "molten sea" in the Temple of Solomon:

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it - ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea. The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths. (NIV)

... the essential point was the impressive size of the cauldron, and its dimensions were only approximate, because the ratio of the circumference to the diameter is stated to be exactly three rather than the real value of pi which is 3.14159...
. (Click here to read the rest of the story.)

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