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10021Why is ‘pi’ such a unique number?
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<p>          The Greek letter ‘pi’ is a unique number and is defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. This number is independent of the size of a circle and for all practical purposes its approximate value is taken as 22/7 or 3.1416. In fact, the fraction 22/7 is slightly greater in value than ‘pi’.</p>
<p>          For many centuries mathematicians have been fascinated by its unique characteristic. The strangest thing about this number is that nobody has been able to calculate its exact value. Computer scientists have now computed pi to over one million decimal places.</p>
<p>          At one time the scientists tried to prove that ‘pi’ was a fraction. When any fraction is written in a decimal number, the same digits always appear over and over again in a special pattern. If ‘pi’ were a fraction, there would be a repeating pattern to its digits. But strangely enough a repeating pattern in ‘pi’ could not be found. Finally in 1761, a Swiss mathematician named Johann Heinrich Lambert settled the matter once and for all. He proved that pi is not a fraction.</p>
<p>          Now the question arises what is the significance of ‘pi’ in our daily life? Suppose you have an automobile tyre whose diameter is one metre. If you want to find its circumference, you can find it out by measuring with a tape. Another way of finding the circumference is to multiply the diameter by this strange number ‘pi’. This number is used to calculate the circumference of all the circular objects.</p>
<p>          The mathematicians are still engaged in research in this direction to see if the digits are arranged in any special way. </p>
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Sat, 09 Sep 2017 10:02:00 +0000http://myscienceschool.org/index.php?/archives/3139-guid.htmlhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/What is a prime number?
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<p>          Any positive integer which is greater  than one and divisible by only itself is called a prime number. For example 2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23,29, etc. are all prime number – numbers that cannot be split by division by any other number except 1 and the particular number itself.</p>
<p>          The prime numbers lie at the very roots of arithmetic and have always fascinated those dealing with figures. We can take the sequence of the above given series of prime numbers as far as we like, but we will never find a prime number divisible by another. Over the centuries, the world’s greatest mathematicians have tried to do so and always fail, although they have also been unable to prove that no such number exists.</p>
<p>          Every positive integer greater than one can be expressed as the product of only a single set of prime numbers. Despite the fact that prime numbers have been recognized since at least 300 B.C. when they were first studied by the Greek mathematician Euclid and Eratosthenes. Still these numbers have not yet unfolded certain mysteries relating to them.</p>
<p>          There is infinity of prime numbers and in theory anything may happen in infinity. But so far theorists have not been able to even find any particular rule or theory governing the gaps between prime numbers, which still remains a great mathematical mystery.</p>
<p>          However, the highest known prime number was discovered in 1992 by analysts at AEA Technology’s Harwell Laboratory, Oxon. The number contains 227832 digits, enough to fill over 10 fullscap pages. </p>
Sat, 09 Sep 2017 09:37:00 +0000http://myscienceschool.org/index.php?/archives/3130-guid.htmlhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/How did arithmetic originate?
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<p>                Arithmetic is the study of the addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of numbers. The word ‘arithmetic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘arithmos’ which means numbers. In the beginning of civilization, man used to count his sheep, cows, oxen and other animals on fingers. In fact, the word ‘digit’ which is used to denote numbers from zero to nine, finds its origin in the Latin word ‘digitus’ meaning a finger or toe. Later on, man started counting by putting marks on sticks of wood. But this process ended soon and man started using various signs for each number.</p>
<p>            The Egyptians used straight lines for counting one to ten. The Greeks used the letters of their alphabets for this purpose. Just to make the difference clearer, a small sign used to be affixed to the letters. For example, they would write a’ for one, b’ for two and j’ for ten. The Romans used to write the first five digits as I, II, III, IV, and V. they used to write X for ten, L for fifty, C for hundred, D for five hundred and M for one thousand. In the Roman language even today numbers are written like this.<!-- s9ymdb:3372 --><img alt="" class="serendipity_image_right" src="http://myscienceschool.org/uploads/arithmetic2.serendipityThumb.jpg" style="width:300px" /></p>
<p>            The numerals presently in use are called Arabic numerals, because it was from the Arabs that these numerals spread to Europe. Actually, they are Indian by origin and should rightly be called Indian numerals. Zero too is Indian by origin and is called ‘Shoonya’, meaning ‘empty’ or ‘nothing’, which became ‘sifr’ in Arabic, meaning the same. In 1202 an Italian resident prepared the first book of arithmetic based on the Arabic system. The first book on arithmetic in the Latin language was printed in 1478. By that time, the arithmetical methods of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division had fully developed. Mathematicians took centuries to develop the methods now used in arithmetic. Every one who goes to school learns arithmetic. It is a skill necessary in science, business and every day life.</p>
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