Ancient Greece

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.14

     challenging words:    implication, puzzle-solving, eureka, oblivious, circumference, irrational, mathematician, mathematics, onset, savvy, supposedly, astronomer, calculate, buoyant, achievement, buoyancy
     content words:    Johann Heinrich Lambert, First Punic War, Hannibal Barca, Roman Republic, Second Punic War, Marcus Claudius Marcellus

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By Vickie Chao

1     Is mathematics or physics your favorite subject? Whether you like it or not, you are probably still quite familiar with this strange-looking Greek symbol called (or pi). is a commonly used scientific constant. It is one of the fundamental principles of the universe. Since very early on, people of the various ancient civilizations had broached the topic. But none were as specific as the Greek scientist Archimedes.
2     Archimedes once said that is a ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It is as simple as that! Later on, this very claim set off the world's longest puzzle-solving exercise. For centuries, scientists everywhere tried to calculate , but in the end, they all threw up their hands and gave up. Then, around 1761, a German scientist named Johann Heinrich Lambert had a major breakthrough. He proved that is actually an irrational number. That means, it can never be written as a ratio of two integers. In other words, it can never be solved.

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