William Shanks

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William Shanks (born January 25, 1812 in Corsenside , Northumberland , † 1882 in Houghton-le-Spring , Durham ) was an English mathematician. He is famous for his handwritten calculations of the circle number pi .

In 1853 he published his calculation of the first 607 decimal places of pi. 20 years later, in 1873, he expanded his work and published another 100 digits, a record at the time. 1945 could DF Ferguson with a table calculator to prove that Shanks calculations were correct only for the first 527 points.

As a basis for his calculations, Shanks used the formula used by John Machin as early as 1706 to determine the first 100 decimal places


In addition, Shanks made many other calculations. For example, he devoted himself to calculating Euler's number and various values ​​of the natural logarithm and published a table of all prime numbers up to 60,000.

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