Zu Chongzhi and Pi
Zu Chongzhi (zÇ chÅng zhÄ« ç¥å²ä¹) was a famous mathematician and scientist in ancient China. He lived in Southern and Northern dynasties (nán bÄi cháo ååæ). When he was young, he had a broad range of interests, such as natural science and philosophy. And he was interested in mathematics, astronomy and machinery.
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The achievement Zu Chongzhi had made in the calculation of the value of pi (yuán zhÅu lÇ åå¨ç) has been internationally acknowledged. Liu Hui (liú huÄ« åå¾½), a mathematic in Three Kingdoms period (sÄn guó shí qÄ« ä¸å½æ¶æ), proposed a way to calculate the value of pi—Cutting Circle Method (gÄ yuán shù å²åæ¯). Based on the earlier research, he resorted to the “Cutting Circle Method” and concluded that the value of pi falls among 3.1415926 to 3.1415927 after more than 1000 times of calculation. He also put forward the viewpoint that the approximate value of pi was 355/133, which was called “milü”(mì lÇ å¯ç), which had boosted the calculation of pi to a new phase.
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The value of pi Zu Chongzhi had calculated is more than 1000 years ahead of the western mathematics. Thus the value of pi is also called “Zu Lü”(zÇ lÇ ç¥ç) so as to commemorate him.
Besides the accomplishment in mathematics, Zu Chongzhi had solved the calculation of sphere volume. The method he had adopted is called Cavalieri Principle (kÇ wÇ liè lì yuán lÇ å¡ç¦åå©åç) in the west, which is created by an Italian mathematic Cavalieri 1000 years later. Cavalier Principle is also called “Zu Principle”(zÇ lÇ ç¥ç).
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He compiled the book Zhui Shu (zhuì shù ç¼æ¯) which has gathered his accomplishment in mathematics and was taken as a teaching material during Tang Dynasty (táng cháo åæ). Besides the achievements in mathematics, he also made great contribution to the astronomy and machinery. He calculated that a tropical year is 365. 365.24281481 days. He made compass cart which was lost for many years in the world.
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