π is Irrational A rational number is one that can be expressed as the fraction of two integers. Rational numbers converted into decimal notation always repeat themselves somewhere in their digits. For example, 3 is a rational number as it can be written as 3/1 and in decimal notation it is expressed with an infinite amount of zeros to the right of the decimal point. 1/7 is also a rational number. Its decimal notation is 0.142857142857…, a repetition of six digits. However, the square root of 2 cannot be written as the fraction of two integers and is therefore irrational. For many centuries prior to the actual proof, mathematicians had thought that pi was an irrational number. The first attempt at a proof was by Johaan Heinrich Lambert in 1761. Through a complex method he proved that if x is rational, tan(x) must be irrational. It follows that if tan(x) is rational, x must be irrational. Since tan(pi/4)=1, pi/4 must be irrational; therefore, pi must be irrational. Many people saw Lambert's proof as too simplified an answer for such a complex and long-lived problem. In 1794, however, A. M. Legendre found another proof which backed Lambert up. This new proof also went as far as to prove that π^2 was also irrational.