In 1897, Indiana almost passed a bill to
change the value of pi. An amateur
mathematician decided he had proof
that pi was not 3.14, but actually 3.2, so
he convinced the state to take on the bill.
It passed the House unanimously, made
it through a Senate committee, and likely
would’ve been approved if a professor
from Purdue hadn’t been in town. After
hearing the news, he went to the state-
house, watched the debate, decided to
intervene, and eventually convinced the
Senate that the theory was nonsense.