More than any of my math songs, this one has
gone through (and been published in) many versions (thanks to helpful
suggestions by folks like Art Benjamin—thanks, Art!) so this version may differ
from the one in the journal you happen to be looking at. Here is the version I consider friendly to
more audiences and it won an international songwriting contest sponsored by the
National Museum of Mathematics in honor of “Pi Day of the Century”, 3/14/15:

*“American Pi”*

**lyric © 1997- 2014 Lawrence Mark Lesser; all rights reserved**

INTRO:*A long,
long time ago I can still remember*

*How that math sure
used to make me smile.*

*And I knew if I
had my chance, I would ace geometry class*

*And make my
parents happy for a while.*

*But some math books
made me shiver--*

*Dry procedures,
all delivered:*

*Nothing past
the **rational,** and nothing
transcendental.*

*I can’t remember
if I cried, reading 3.14159…*

*But something
touched me deep inside*

*The day I learned
of pi… so:*

__CHORUS__: Find, find the value of pi, starts 3.14159...

A good ol' fraction you may hope to
define,

But the decimal never dies, the decimal never dies....

In the Bible we do see the circle
ratio appears as 3,

Or a little more....

That genius Archimedes found with
polygons, an upper bound

Of 22/7 for sure!

The Chinese got it really keen:
three-five-five over one thirteen!

More joined the action with
continued fractions.

In the 1700s, my oh my, the English
coined the symbol π,

Then Lambert showed it was a
lie to look for rational pi.

He started singing..... (*Repeat Chorus*)

Late 1800s, Lindemann shared
why a circle can’t be squared

But some folks tried anyway--

Like the

And thought his proof should be a
law someday.

The

Read his paper there and then

A bill got through the
House by a vote unanimous!

But in the end, the statesmen
cried, “It’s not for us to decide!”

So the bill was left to
die like the quest for rational pi.

Let’s try singing.... (*Repeat Chorus*)

*And here is a longer
version:*

*“American Pi”*

**lyric © 1997-
2014 Lawrence Mark Lesser; all rights reserved**

**May
be sung to the tune of ****Don McLean’s “American Pie”**

INTRO:

*A long,
long time ago I can still remember*

*How that
math sure used to make me smile.*

*And I
knew if I had my chance, I would ace geometry class*

*And make
my parents happy for a while.*

*But some
math books made me shiver--*

*Dry
procedures, all delivered:*

*Nothing
past the rational, and nothing transcendental.*

*I can’t
remember if I cried, reading 3.14159…*

*But
something touched me deep inside*

*The day
I learned of pi… so:*

__CHORUS__:
Find, find the value of pi, starts 3.14159…

Good ol’ boys gave it a try,

But the decimal never dies, the decimal never dies.........

In the
Bible we do see the circle ratio appears as three,

Or a little more....

That genius
Archimedes found with polygons, an upper bound

Of 22/7 for
sure!

The Chinese
got it really keen: three-five-five over one thirteen!

More joined
the action with continued fractions.

In the
1700s, my oh my, the English coined the symbol π,

Then
Lambert showed it was a lie to look for rational pi.

He started
singing.........

Find, find the value of pi

Twice 11 over 7 is a mighty fine try

A good ol’ fraction you might hope to supply,

But the decimal never dies, the decimal never dies.

Late 1800s,
Lindemann shared why a circle can’t
be squared

But some
folks tried anyway--

Like the

And thought
his proof should be a law someday.

The

Read his
paper there and then

A bill got
through the House by a vote unanimous!

But in the
end, the statesmen cried, “It’s not for us to decide!”

So the bill
was left to die like the quest for rational pi.

Let’s try
singing......

Find, find the value of pi

Buffon’s needle popped the bubble of that ol’ doctor’s try

A good ol’ fraction could not be supplied

‘Cause the decimal never dies, the decimal never dies.

That
doctor’s pi in the sky dreams may not look so extreme

‘Cause we
long believed

Deductive
systems could be complete and there was one true
geometry.

Now when it
comes to pi, we test the best machines to find

Many trillion places that so far lack pattern’s traces.

It’s great
when we can truly see math as human history--

That adds
curiosity...... easy as pi!

Let’s all
try singing.....

Find, find the value of pi

3.141592653589…

A good ol’ fraction you might hope to define

But the decimal never dies, the decimal never dies.

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