Ludolph van Ceulen (28 January 1540 – 31 December 1610) was a German / Dutch mathematician from Hildesheim. He emigrated to the Netherlands.

Ludolph van Ceulen

Ceulen moved to Delft to teach fencing and mathematics. In 1594 he opened a fencing school in Leiden. In 1600 he was appointed the first professor of mathematics at Leiden University. He died in Leiden.

Calculating π

Ludolph van Ceulen spent a major part of his life calculating the numerical value of the mathematical constant π, using essentially the same methods as those employed by Archimedes some seventeen hundred years earlier. He published a 20-decimal value in his 1596 book Van den Circkel ("On the Circle"), later expanding this to 35 decimals. After his death, the "Ludolphine number",

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288...,

was engraved on his tombstone in Leiden. The tombstone was later lost but was restored in 2000.

External links

"Digits of Pi" by Barry Cipra (includes photo of tombstone)

Oomes, R. M. Th. E.; Tersteeg, J. J. T. M.; Top, J. "The epitaph of Ludolph van Ceulen." Nieuw Arch. Wiskd. (5) 1 (2000), no. 2. online (Dutch)

MacTutor biography of van Ceulen

Ludolph van Ceulen (1540-1610) (Dutch)

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