The First Use of π for the Circle Ratio (1706)
William Jones (1675–1749) was largely a self-made mathematician. He had considerable genius and wrote on navigation and general mathematics. He edited some of Newton’s tracts. The two passages given below are taken from the Synopsis Palmariorum Matbeseos: or, a New Introduction to the Mathematics, London, 1706. The work was intended “for the Vse of some Friends, who had neither Leisure, Conveniency, nor, perhaps, Patience, to search into so many different Authors, and turn over so many tedious volumes, as is unavoidably required to make but a tolerable Progress in the Mathematics.” It was a very ingenious compendium of mathematics as then known. The symbol π first appears on page 243, and again on p. 263. The transcendence of π was proved by Lindemann in 1882. For the transcendence of e, which proved earlier (1873), see page 99.