About eighteen hundred years after Archimedes, a French mathematician by the name of François Viète (or Vieta, 1540-1603), in the course of his work in trigonometry, found a remarkable formula involving the number π:

The discovery of this*infinite product*in 1593 marked a milestone in the history of mathematics: it was the first time an infinite process was explicitly written as a mathematical formula. Indeed, the most remarkable feature of Viète’s formula, apart from its elegant form, is the three dots at the end, telling us to go on and on . . .*ad infinitum.*It shows