William Jones is a famous mathematician the created, and was the first to use, pi. William was born on a farm in Anglesey, then later moved to Llanbabo on Anglesey, then moved again after the death of William's father. He attended a charity school at Llanfechell. There his mathematical talents were spotted by the local landowner who arranged for him to be given a job in London. His job was in a merchant’s counting house. This job had Jones serving at sea on a voyage to the West Indies. He taught mathematics and navigation on board ships between 1695 and 1702. He was serving on a navy vessel which. Navigation was a topic which greatly interested Jones and his first published work was “A New Compendium of the Whole Art of Navigation” It was published in 1702, the year he came back from the voyage. In his book, he applied mathematics to navigation, studying methods to calculate position at sea.
Soon he was employed to tutor Philip Yorke, who was later to become Baron Hardwicke of Hardwicke. This was an important position for Jones since Yorke, after a legal career, entered parliament becoming a solicitor general in 1720, an attorney general in 1724, a lord chief justice in 1733, and a lord chancellor 1737. Jones tutored Yorke for about three years. He published “Synopsis Palmariorum Mathesios” in 1706. The book was based on his teaching notes intended for beginning mathematicians. It included the differential calculus, infinite series, and also famed since the pi symbol is used with its modern meaning. In 1709 he applied for a position in the Christ's Hospital Mathematical School. He supplied references from Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley. He did not get the position, so he continued lecturing in coffee houses.
He was unsuccessful in obtaining mastership when attending Christ's Hospital Mathematical School. Before going to school there he had married the widow of his employer in the merchant's counting-house. In addition, his coffee house role acted as a tutor to George Parker, who was then son of the future earl of Macclesfield, a job he got since his former pupil, Philip Yorke, was a good friend of George Parker's father. Jones was also friends with the Parker family, and had done business with them at their castle at Shirburn. It was greatly helped that he had a good friendship with Philip Yorke and George Parker, especially after he lost all his money when the bank that he kept his money had been run down. His two former students were later men of great influence and were able to help Jones with obtaining many different types of jobs with various positions, and he was paid well.
The first man to really make an impact in the calculation of pi was the Greek, Archimedes of Syracuse. Where two people by then name of Antiphon and Bryson left off with their inscribed and circumscribed polygons, Archimedes took up the challenge. However, he used a slightly different method than they used. Archimedes focused on the polygons' perimeters as...