Indiana Pi Bill

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill

The Indiana Pi Bill is the popular name for bill #246 of the 1897 sitting of the Indiana General Assembly, one of the most famous attempts to establish scientific truth by legislative fiat. Despite that name, the main result claimed by the bill is a method to square the circle, rather than to establish a certain value for π, although the bill does contain text that appears to dictate various incorrect values of π, such as 3.2.

The bill never became law, due to the intervention of a mathematics professor who happened to be present in the legislature.

The impossibility of squaring the circle using only compass and straightedge, suspected since ancient times, was rigorously proven in 1882 by Ferdinand von Lindemann. Better approximations of π than those inferred from the bill have been known since ancient times.

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