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On This Day

  • 4-12-1734

    Thomas Fantet de Lagny, who computed pi to 112 decimal places using Gregory's series, died. Maupertius was called to Lagny's deathbed, and finding the poor man unconscious, asked him for the square of 12. Like an automaton, de Lagny rose in bed, gave the answer, and immediately passed away.

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    Thomas Fantet de Lagny
  • 4-12-1794

    Germinal Pierre Dandelin born. He is known for his ingenious use of spheres in a cone to show that the definition of the conics as sections of a cone are equivalent to the loci definitions.

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    Germinal Dandelin
    Dandelin Spheres
  • 4-12-1852

    Carl Louis Ferdinand von Lindemann born. He showed pi is transcendental; consequently, the circle cannot be squared.

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    Ferdinand von Lindemann
    Squaring the Circle