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, but it’s my favorite one so far:

*“American Pi”*

**lyric © 1997- 2007 **

INTRO:

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

*How that mathematics
made 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--*

*Facts on tablets, all delivered:*

*Nothing past the rational,*

*And nothing transcendental.*

*I can’t remember if I cried,*

*Reading 3 point 1 4
1 5 9…..*

*But something touched me deep inside*

*The day I learned of pi…so:*

Find,
find the value of pi,

Starts 3 point 1 4 1 5 9.

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 sevenths for sure!

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

More joined the action with arctan series and continued fractions.

In the 1700’s, 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 1800’s, 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

Discussed his paper there and then

A bill got through the House by a vote unanimous!

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

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

They started 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.

But now there’s more we see

In these computer times, we test the best machines to find

pi to a 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 point 1 4 1 5 9 2 6 5 3 5 8 9...

A good ol’ fraction you might hope to define

But the decimal never dies, the decimal never dies.

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