Sounds totally irrational, I know. After all, any one who has attended high school will tell you that you don't need the value of pi to the infinite decimal place; 3.14 works just fine.
However, the people of 1897 weren't in on this little trick. The state legislator tried to pass a bill that would have legally redefined the value of pi as 3.2.This story starts with Edward J. Goodwin, an Indianian physician who spend his free time dabbling in math. His obsession was an old problem known as squaring the circle.
Since ancient times, mathematicians theorized that there must be some way to calculate the area of a circle using only a compass and a straightedge. They thought that with these tools, they would construct a square that had the exact some area as the circle.
The only problem with this method is that it's impossible.But Goodwin wouldn't stand for it! In 1894, he convinced the journal American Mathematical Monthly to print the proof in which he "solved" the square-the-circle problem.
The poof only worked because Goodwin substituted the approximate value of pi with 3.2 (which is around 0.06 off; quite large from a calculation perspective). Goodwin insisted that this law be taught in classrooms and Indiana wanted to teach this proof.
But, the only way the state could avoid paying royalties would be if and only if the legislature would accept this "new mathematical truth" as state law. Thus, the Indiana Pi Bill was born.The Senate reviewed the bill and came to the crazy conclusion that correct mathematics should be taught in math class. Just goes to show you Goodwan, that you can't have your pi and eat it too.