Le Fascinant Nombre Pi

reviewed by Simon Plouffe


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Le Fascinant Nombre Pi
by Jean-Paul Delahaye
ISBN: 2902918259
Simon Plouffe's Rating:

First of all Jean-Paul Delahaye won a prize his book in France, (d'Alembert prize if I recall well).

The book is a < hit > in France and I can understand why. I received many comments (many mails), from french speaking readers about the book and in general they quote the book as being very good.

Jean-Paul Delahaye wrote over 100 articles and he is a regular columnist for the magazine Pour La Science which is the french version of Scientific American. In addition he also wrote a bunch of books that are equally excellent, one on prime numbers (Merveilleux nombres premiers) < marvelous prime numbers >.

Delahaye specializes in logic and computation and wrote very good articles on it that I find really interesting to read as an amateur of logic. I can say that because for me logic is a real weak subject. I am really poor in logic but Delahaye makes it very interesting. He has the unique talent to explain in ordinary words advanced concepts and ideas. I think that he wrote the book on Pi with a bit of passion and real interest : and we can feel that interest and passion through the book.

The book begins with an historical survey of the computation of Pi and develops further on different aspects about the digits of Pi, new algorithms (including the BBP algorithm).

There is a chapter about ideas around Chiatin, computation and logic and what represents an infinity of digits and the concept of a number like Pi, this part is quite fascinating to read.

I know a number of people that read the book and they all agree to say that it is well written, well explained and quite pleasing to read. Some were mathematicians and some were amateurs of mathematics.

Those people I know also read other books of Delahaye and again : they all say that it is really well written. I would say that he writes in a very precise way, simple, exact and direct.

I recommend that book strongly. In my opinion it is a classic book, a must read book on Pi. Certainly the best book ever written on that subject.

Simon Plouffe
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