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From: msb@sq.com (Mark Brader) Subject: AFU FAQ archive - pi.indiana

In the above-cited article, I write:

I have a couple of long articles online giving some of the history of
the bill and an interpretation of what the author appears to have been
thinking; but here is the full text of the bill for what it is worth.
I'll send the articles to anyone who asks for them in email, but I
don't think they'd be of great interest here.

Perhaps they would, however, be of sufficient interest to put in the archive (if only to forestall future email requests for them!). Here they are:

Article 15233 of sci.math: Xref: sq sci.math:15233 soc.history:3911 Path: sq!geac!torsqnt!news-server.csri.toronto.edu!rpi!zaphod.mps.ohio-state.edu!wuarchive!psuvax1!ukma!ghot From: ghot@ms.uky.edu (Allan Adler) Newsgroups: sci.math,soc.history Subject: Re: Mathematical Scandals Message-ID: 1991Mar27.214332.29378@ms.uky.edu Date: 27 Mar 91 21:43:32 GMT Sender: ghot@ms.uky.edu (Allan Adler) Organization: University Of Kentucky, Dept. of Math Sciences Lines: 165

Lorenzo Sadun paints the legislation of pi = 3 (or 3.14) as reasonable. I happen to have in my files a copy of an article by Will E. Edington of De Pauw University, entitled

"House Bill No. 246, Indiana State Legislature, 1897",

which appeared in the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science. I don't happen to have written the year of the article. I vague recall it being in the 1950's, but I might be mistaken.

Edington's article is based on " the bill itself,…, the Journals of the House and Senate for 1897, and the files of the three Indianapolis papers for January and February, 1897." He also draws on an article of Prof.Waldo in the Proc.Indiana Acad.Science in 1916 on the subject.

The author of the bill was Edwin J. Goodwin, M.D. It was introduced into the House by Mr. Taylor I. Record, Representative from Posey County, on Jan.18, 1897. The following is the statement of the bill:

		"HOUSE BILL NO. 246
 "A bill for an act introducinga new mathematical truth and offered as a

contribution to education to be used only by the State of Indiana free of cost by paying any royalties whatever on the same, provided it is accepted and adopted by the official action of the legislature of 1897.

 "Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana: 

It has been found that a circular area is to the square on a line equal to the quadrant of the circumference, as the area of an equilateral rectangle is to the square on one side. The diameter employed as the linear unit according to the present rule in computing the circle's area is entirely wrong, as it represents the circles area one and one-fifths times the area of a square whose perimeter is equal to the circumference of the circle. This is because one-fifth of the diameter fils to be represented four times in the circle's circumference. For example: if we multiply the perimeter of a square by one-fourth of any line one-fifth greater than one side, we can, in like manner make the square's area to appear one fifth greater than the fact, as is done by taking the diameter for the linear unit instead of the quadrant of the circle's circumference.

 "Section 2. It is impossible to compute the area of a circle on the

diameter as the linear unit without tresspassing upon the area outside the circle to the extent of including one-fifth more area than is contained within the circle's circumference, because the square on the diameter produces the side of a square which equals nine when the arc of ninety degrees equals eight. By taking the quadrant of the circle's circumference for the linear unit, we fulfill the requirements of both quadrature and rectification of the circle's circumference. Furthermore, it has revealed the ratio of the chord and arc of ninety degrees, which is as seven to eight, and also the ratio of the diagonal and one side of a square which is as ten to seven, disclosing the fourth important fact, that the ratio of the diameter and circumference is as five-fourths to four; and because of these facts and the further fact that the rule in prresent use fails to work both ways mathematically, it should be discarded as wholly wanting and misleading in its practical applications.

 "Section 3. In further proof of the value of the author's proposed

contribution to education, and offered as a gift to the State of Indiana, is the fact of his solutions of the trisection of the angle, duplication of the cube and quadrature having been already accepted as contributions to science by the American Mathematical Monthly, the leading exponent of mathematical thought in this country. And be it remembered that these noted problems had been long since given up by scientific bodies as unsolvable mysteries and above man's ability to comprehend."

I think the text of the bill should dispell any illusions as to its resasonableness. Note the mention of the American Mathematical Monthly: I don't know whether the Monthly actually published what this bill claims. If it did, that might be a scandal worthy of Kenton Yee's list.

Edington describes the fate of the bill in the committees of the Indiana legislature. First it was referred to the House Committee on Canals, which was also referred to as the Committee on Swamp Lands. Notices of the bill appeared in the Indianapolis Journal and the Indianapolis Sentinel on Jan. 19,1897, both of which described it a a bill telling how to square circles. On the same day, "Representative M.B.Butler, of Steuben County, chairman of the Committee on Canals, submitted the following report:

 "Your Committee on Canals, to which was referred House Bill No.246, entitled

an act for the introduction of a mamthematical truth, etc., has had the same under consideration and begs leave to report the same back to the House with the recommendation that said bill be referred to the Committee on Education."

The next day, the following article appeared in the Indianapolis Sentinel:

		"To SQUARE THE CIRCLE
 "Claims Made That This Old Problem Has Been Solved.
 "The bill telling how to square a circle, introduced in the House by 

Mr.Record, is not intended to be a hoax. Mr. Record knows nothing of the bill with the exception that he introduced it by request of Dr.Edwin Goodwin of Posey County, who is the author of the deomstration. The latter and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Geeting believe that it is the long-sought solution of the problem, and they are seeking to have it adopted by the legislature. Dr. Goodwin, the author, is a mathematician of note. He has it copyrighted and his proposition is that if the legislature will indorse the solution, he will allow the state to use the demonstration in its textbooks free of charge. The author is lobbying for the bill."

On "February 2, 1897, …Representative S.E. Nicholson, of Howard County, chairman of the Committee on Education, reported to the House.

 "Your Committee on Education, to which was referred House Bill No.246, 

entitled a a bill for an act entitled an act introducing a new mathematical truth, has had same under consideration, and begs leave to report the same back to the House with the recommendation that said bill do pass.

"The report was cincurred in, and on February 8,1897, it was brought up for the second reading, following which it was considered engrossed. Then 'Mr. Nicholson moved that the consitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three days be suspended, that the bill may be read a third time now.' The constitutional rule was suspended by a vote of 72 to 0 and the bill was then read a third time. It was passed by a vote of 67 to 0, and the Clerk of the House was directed to inform the Senate of the passage of the bill."

The newspapers reported the suspension of the consitutional rules and the unanimous passage of the bill matter-of-factly, except for one line in the Indianapolis Journal to the effect that "this is the strangest bill that has ever passed an Indiana Assembly."

The bill was referred to the Senate on Feb.10,1897 and was read for the first time on Feb.11 and referred to the Committee on Temperance. "On Feb.12 Senator Harry S. New, of Marion County, Chairman of the COmmittee on Temperance, made the following report to the Senate:

 "Your committee on Temperance, to which was referred House Bill No.246,

introduced by Mr.Record, has had the same under consideration and begs leave to report the same back to the Senate with the recommendation that said bill do pass."

The Senate Journal mentions only that the bill was read a second time on Feb.12, 1897, that there was an unsuccessful attempt to amend the bill by strike out the enacting clause, and finally it was postponed indefinitely. That the bill was killed appears to be a matter of dumb luck rather than the superior education or wisdom of the Senate. It is true that the bill was widely ridiculed in Indiana and other states, but what actually brought about the defeat of the bill is recorded by Prof.C.A.Waldo in an article he wrote for the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science in 1916. The reason he knows is that he happened to be at the State Capitol lobbying for the appropriation of the Indiana Academy of Science, on the day the Housed passed House Bill 246. When he walked in the found the debate on House Bill 246 already in progress.In his article, he writes (according to Edington):

"An ex-teacher from the eastern part of the state was saying: 'The case is perfectly simple. If we pass this bill which establishes a new and correct value for \pi, the author offers to our state without cost the use of his discovery and its free publication in our school text books, while everyone else must pay him a royalty.' The roll was then called and the bill passed its third and final reading in the lower house. A member then showed the writer [i.e. Waldo -AA] a copy of the bill just passed and asked him if he would like an introduction to the learned doctor, its author. He declined the courtesy with thanks remarking that he was acquainted with as many crazy people as he cared to know.

"That evening the senators were properly coached and shortly thereafter as it came to its final reading in the upper house they threw out with much merriment the epoch making discovery of the Wise Man from the Pocket."

So much for the bill regarding the value of \pi. Before we laugh too hard at the legislature of Indiana or at the state of education in 1897, I think we should have a moment of silence as we contemplate what fate the bill might have if it were brought up for a referendum today.

Allan Adler ghot@ms.uky.edu

Article 15360 of sci.math: Xref: sq sci.math:15360 soc.history:3971 Newsgroups: sci.math,soc.history Path: sq!msb From: msb@sq.sq.com (Mark Brader) Subject: Indiana Pi Bill (was: Mathematical Scandals) Message-ID: 1991Apr2.021121.11810@sq.sq.com Followup-To: sci.math Summary: pi = 3.2; annotated text of bill follows Organization: SoftQuad Inc., Toronto, Canada References: 1991Mar27.214332.29378@ms.uky.edu <sadun.670185234@acf9> Date: Tue, 2 Apr 91 02:11:21 GMT Lines: 227

This article is cross-posted as part of a cross-posted thread; followups are directed to sci.math.

Before I start I should point out that this topic is in fact covered in the master Frequently Asked Questions list – I wrote the entry there – and that nobody has yet mentioned this. Everyone posting to the net should be familiar with this and the other articles that are regularly reposted to news.announce.newusers! However, I think it's okay to post this article, as it goes into rather more detail than can appear there.

ghot@ms.uky.edu (Allan Adler) writes a long and informative article
about the 1897 Indiana legislature almost passing a circle-squarer's
"corrected" value of pi, and included the text of the bill. I did not
know about this bill, and I stand corrected.

(BTW, from the text of the bill I couldn't quite figure out what the
value of pi was supposed to be. If somebody could sift through
the bill and answer that I'd appreciate it.)

David Singmaster's article (Mathematical Intelligencer, vol. 7 (1985) #2, p.69-72), which was mentioned in another posting in this thread, takes each mathematical statement in the bill at face value and derives a value of pi by comparing it to the truth. I don't think this is fair; it seems clear to me that the author's model of the world had more deviations from reality than the value of pi. At the end of this article I explain why I consider the bill to assign the value 3.2 to pi.

I posted some information about the affair to the net in about 1985, and still have it online. As with Allan Adler's posting, which also included the text of the bill, my source for this was Will Edington's PIAS article – I don't have a date either, but a reference in the text means that it must have been the second half of 1935 of thereabouts. I hadn't read Singmaster's article at the time. Anyway, I have edited down most of what I wrote about the story behind the bill, as much of it duplicated what Allan posted. I have retained some bits that he didn't mention, and some other bits needed for continuity.

One interesting difference between today's Usenet and those days – I originally felt it necessary to post this in three parts because of its length!

(Edited old posting follows.)

I have been unable to find any reference by Martin Gardner to the story, neither in "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science" nor in his Scientific American columns. Gardner did write a column about pi in July 1960. I have seen brief references to the story in several places, including the Guinness Book of World Records. Frequently these references give the *wrong* wrong value of Pi. It was 3.2, not 3 as the Bible seems to suggest, nor 4 as Guinness says.

THE STORY

The author of the bill was Dr. Edwin J. Goodwin, an M.D., of Solitude, Indiana. It seems that he was a crank mathematician. He contacted his Representative, one Taylor I. Record, with his epoch-making suggestion: if the State would pass an Act recognizing his discovery, he would allow all Indiana textbooks to use it without paying him a royalty.

Nobody in the Indiana Legislature knew enough mathematics to know that the "discovery" was nonsense. In due course the bill had its third House reading, and passed 67-0. At this point the text of the bill was published "and, of course, became the target for ridicule", "in this and other states".

By this time a real mathematician, Prof. C. A. Waldo, had learned what was going on. In fact, he was present when the bill was read on February 5, 1897. ("…imagine [the author's] surprise when he discovered that he was in the midst of a debate upon a piece of mathematical legislation. An ex-teacher was saying … 'The case is perfectly simple. If we pass this bill which establishes a new and correct value for Pi, the author offers … its free publication in our school text books, while everyone else must pay him a royalty'", Waldo wrote in a 1916 article.) But the House had passed the bill.

Fortunately, Indiana has a bicameral legislature. The bill came up for first reading in the Senate on Thursday, February 11. Apparently in fun, they referred it to the Committee on Temperance. The Committee reported back on Friday, February 12, approving the bill, which then had its second reading.

The Indianapolis Journal reported what happened: "The Senators made bad puns about it, ridiculed it, and laughed over it. The fun lasted half an hour. Senator Hubbell said that it was not meet for the Senate, which was costing the State $250 a day [!], to waste its time in such frivolity … He moved the indefinite postponement of the bill, and the motion carried. … All of the senators who spoke on the bill admitted that they were ignorant of the merits of the proposition. [In the end,] it was simply regarded as not being a subject for legislation."

ANNOTATED TEXT OF THE BILL

/* Following is the text of Indiana House Bill #246 of 1897, with my * own annotations (in comment signs and exdented, like this text). * In my annotations, A, r, d, c, and s are respectively the circle's * area, radius, diameter, circumference, and the side of the inscribed * square. */

            A bill for an act introducing a  new  mathematical
      truth  and  offered as a contribution to education to be
      used only by the State of Indiana free of cost by paying
      any  royalties  whatever on the same, provided it is ac-
      cepted and adopted by the official action  of  the  leg-
      islature of 1897.

/* You normally have to pay royalties on mathematical truths? * The Pythagoras estate must be doing well by now… */

      SECTION 1.
            Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State
      of Indiana: It has been found that a circular area is to
      the square on a line equal to the quadrant of  the  cir-
      cumference,  as  the area of an equilateral rectangle is
      to the square on one side.

/* The part after the last comma is a remarkable way of saying * "as 1 is to 1". In other words, this says A = (c/4)^2, which * is the same as A = (pi*r/2)^2 = (pi^2/4)*r^2 instead of the * actual A = pi*r^2. */

                          The diameter employed as the  linear
      unit  according  to  the  present  rule in computing the
      circle's area is entirely wrong, as  it  represents  the
      circle's  area  one  and  one-fifth  times the area of a
      square whose perimeter is equal to the circumference  of
      the circle.

/* The formula A = pi*r^2 is interpreted as A = d*(c/4), which is correct. * The author claims that the d factor should be c/4, so the ratio of * the area by the author's formula to the area by the real formula * is c/(4*d), that is, pi/4. Since he believes pi = 3.2, this ratio * is 3.2/4, which is 4/5. Therefore the area by the author's rule * is 1/5 smaller than the actual area. Now he apparently thinks that * the reciprocal of 1-1/5 is 1+1/5, and thus that the other area is * 1/5 larger than his area, which of course would actually require * the ratio to be 5/6. */

                          This is because one-fifth of the di-
      ameter  fails  to  be  represented  four  times  in  the
      circle's circumference.

/* In other words, c = (1-1/5) * (4*d); consistent with pi = 3.2. */

                          For example: if we multiply the per-
      imeter  of  a square by one-fourth of any line one-fifth
      greater than one side, we can in like  manner  make  the
      square's area to appear one fifth greater than the fact,
      as is done by taking the diameter for  the  linear  unit
      instead of the quadrant of the circle's circumference.

/* He says that if we consider the area of a square of side x to be * (4*x)*(x/4) and we replace the second x by (1+1/5)*x, we get an * area 1/5 too large, and this is analogous to using d in place of * c/4 with the circle. */

      SECTION 2.
            It is impossible to compute the area of  a  circle
      on  the diameter as the linear unit without tresspassing
      upon the area outside the circle to the  extent  of  in-
      cluding one-fifth more area than is contained within the
      circle's circumference, because the square on the diame-
      ter produces the side of a square which equals nine when
      the arc of ninety degrees equals eight.

/* I can only assume that "nine" is a mistake for "ten". See also * the annotation after the next one. */

                          By  taking  the  quadrant   of   the
      circle's  circumference  for the linear unit, we fulfill
      the requirements of both quadrature and rectification of
      the circle's circumference.

/* Getting repetitive here… */

                          Furthermore, it has revealed the ra-
      tio  of the chord and arc of ninety degrees, which is as
      seven to eight, and also the ratio of the  diagonal  and
      one  side of a square which is as ten to seven, disclos-
      ing the fourth important fact, that the ratio of the di-
      ameter and circumference is as five-fourths to four; and
      because of these facts and the futher fact that the rule
      in  present  use fails to work both ways mathematically,
      it should be discarded as wholly wanting and  misleading
      in its practical applications.

/* The meat of the bill. He says that s/(c/4) = 7/8, and d/s = 10/7, * therefore d/c = (10/7)*(7/8)/4, which he reduces only as far as * (5/4)/4. Of course this is 5/16, and gives pi = c/d = 16/5 = 3.2. * It also implies that the square root of 2 is 10/7. */

      SECTION 3.
            In further proof of the value of the author's pro-
      posed  contribution  to education, and offered as a gift
      to the State of Indiana, is the fact of his solutions of
      the trisection of the angle, duplication of the cube and
      quadrature of the circle having been already accepted as
      contributions  to  science  by the American Mathematical
      Monthly, the leading exponent of mathematical thought in
      this country.

/* When I first posted this I assumed that the A.M.M. must have had a * policy of politely acknowledging crankish submissions, but apparently * at one time they simply printed whatever they were sent. I haven't * checked this out. */

                          And be it remembered that these not-
      ed  problems  had been long since given up by scientific
      bodies as unsolvable mysteries and above  man's  ability
      to comprehend.

/* "Given up" is not the same as "proved insoluble"! */

– Mark Brader "Sir, your composure baffles me. A single counter- SoftQuad Inc. example refutes a conjecture as effectively as ten. Toronto … Hands up! You have to surrender." utzoo!sq!msb, msb@sq.com – Imre Lakatos

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