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## Memorizing Pi – World Records and Techniques

How many digits of pi do you have memorized?

But seriously… is it 3? 5? 10? more than 30? If it’s more than 30 pat yourself on the back because that’s a great accomplishment! If it’s only a few, then no worries. Below we will teach you some techniques that can be used to conquer the digits of pi.

Computations of Pi

Some basic information and a brief time line on computations of the digits of pi:

• 1540 – 1610: 35 digits determined
• done by German mathematician Ludolph van Ceulen
• used a geometric method (just like Archimedes did)
• proud of his calculation that took a great part of his life
• he had the digits engraved on his tombstone
• 1949: 2, 037 digits computed (John von Neumann et al.)
• 1973: Over one million digits computed
• 1989: One billion digits computed (Chudnovsky brothers)
• 2010: 2.7 trillion digits computed (F. Bellard)
• In the near future: Almost all of them computed?

Who memorizes pi?

This is just a joke. It does bear a tiny bit of truth but the two sets of people aren’t mutually exclusive. I am both a scientist and a science fan!

Digits Memorized vs. Year (Graph)

Record Holders*: David Fiore
April 1st, 1979:
• David Fiore wrote down 10,625 decimal places of pi
• He was 18 years old at the time
• He is known as the ﬁrst person to ever break 10,000 decimal places
• It took him three hours and ﬁve minutes

Record Holders*: Creighton Carvello (1944-2008)
June 27th, 1980:
• Creighton Carvello recited 20,013 decimal places of pi
• 2003: he recalled 3,500 facts about every FA Cup Final since 1872 (names of referees, goal scorers, teams, crowd attendances, scores, venues…)
• Memorized the exact sequence of 10,000 words from Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea
• Recited 17 random digits after seeing them for 2 seconds

July 5, 1981:
• Rajan Mahadevan recited 31,811 digits of pi
• He discovered his exceptional ability to memorize numbers at the age of 4 during a party hosted by his family
• During the party, Rajan wandered to a parking lot and committed the license plate numbers of every guest’s car for recitation later
• A quote: “I am not good at remembering words – words confuse my system of memorizing. Numbers, I have no problems at all. I put away huge numbers in something similar to a computer ﬁle and I can recall them even after decades.”

Record Holders*: Hideaki Tomoyori
March 10th, 1987:
• Hideaki Tomoyori recited 40,000 decimal places of pi
• Took him 17 hours 21 minutes (including breaks totaling 4 hours 15 minutes) to recite
• Took him 10 years to memorize 40,000 decimal places

Record Holders*: Chao Lu
November 20th, 2005:
• Chao Lu recited 67,890 decimal places of pi
• Took him 24 hours 4 minutes to recite (with no breaks)
• Took him 1 year to memorize 100,000 digits (he made a mistake at the 67,891th digit when going for the record)
• He is the current (ofﬁcial) record holder
• In 2006, Akira Haraguchi, a retired Japanese engineer, claimed to have recited 100,000 decimal places. This, however, has yet to be verified by Guinness World Records.

Unofﬁcial: Andriy Slyusarchuk
June 17th, 2009:
• A. Slyusarchuk claims to have 30 million digits memorized
• The digits are printed in 20 volumes of text
• He is a neurosurgeon, medical doctor and professor
• He was able to recite randomly selected sequences from within the ﬁrst 30 million places of pi
• Reciting 30 million digits of pi at one digit a second would take 347 days (nonstop)
• No ofﬁcially documented attempt to debunk his claims has been successful as of yet

Why memorize pi? To beat Grace!
May 12th, 2008:
• Grace Hare recited 31 digits of pi
• It took her 18 seconds
• She is 3 years old and the youngest record holder

How to memorize pi? Piems!
A piem is a (pi) poem where the length of each word represents a digit of pi
For example, the following piem encodes the string: 3. 141592 65358 9793 23846

Pie
I wish I could determine pi
Eureka! cried the great inventor.
Christmas pudding, Christmas pie
Is the problem’s very center.

Notice that:
Pie = 3;
I = 1; wish = 4; I = 1; could = 5; determine = 9; pi = 2;
Eureka=6; cried=5; the=3; great=5; inventor=8;
and so on. Thus, each word represents a digit of pi.

My favourite piems!
There’s over a bazillion piems and variations (lots and lots). The best ones are:

May I have a large container of coffee right now?
3.141592653

Hey, I need a large motorboat to rescue women and girls.
3.1415926535

God! I need a drink,
Alcoholic of course,
After all those lectures

3.1415 926 5358 979

Long Piems
• It was written in 1996 by Mike Keith
• Words of length 10 encode the digit 0
• Words of length 11 (or 12) encode the two consecutive digits 1,1 (or 1,2)
• 2010: In his book Not A Wake, Keith extends to 10,000 digits of pi

Technique: Grouping Digits
• Split pi into small groups of digits (like 4 digits or 5, 6, 7, whatever you are comfortable with)
• Focus on memorizing the ﬁrst small group
• Some people ﬁnd singing it helps
• When comfortable with the ﬁrst group, move on to the next
• Cons: If you lose your spot, you may have to start over.

Grouping Example: (3.14159) (26535) (8979323) (84626) (4338327) (95028) (8419716) (93993) (7510582) (09749) (4459230)

Start by memorizing (3.14159) for a minute… then add the next group (26535) and practice for two minutes. Then add the third group and practice until you are comfortable (REPEAT!!)

Classic Memory Techniques – The Major System
• Major System: Convert numbers into sounds.
• Sounds without numbers are used as ‘ﬁllers’
• Form words from the sounds
• In practice, use 100 ‘peg words’: rat is 41; bar is 94

Classic Memory Techniques – Link System
1. Start by converting each digit of pi to its corresponding phonetic sound
2. Group sounds together to create a list of words
3. Words created should be actions or objects
4. Alternatively, use your ‘ﬁxed’ peg words for the number
5. Use the Link System: Link words together into a long chain by using a sequence of events, a story, or a journey. The CRAZIER the story the BETTER!!

Example: 3.14 15 92 —> 14 = door; 15 = doll; 92 = pan;

You are standing at the biggest door you have every seen.
You knock at the door and this Raggedy Ann doll answers.
Out of nowhere, she smacks you with a pan she is holding!

Coordinate Method
• Pros: Can recite starting at any decimal spot (if you lose your spot, you don’t have to start over)
• First 10 decimal places (1415926535) associated with 0
• Use the Major System to encode as: turtle-pinochle-mall and link it to 0 (saw)
• Example: Picture yourself using a saw to cut open a turtle who is playing pinochle at the mall
• Next 10 digits (8979323846) would be linked to 1 in the same manner
• Next 10 digits linked to 2
• Repeat.
* Reference for World Record Holders: Pi World Ranking List and Wikipedia

## yo dawg math version

This one was made by Joe!!

yo dawg I heard you like recursion so we put a yo dawg in yo yo dawg so you can yo dawg while u yo dawg

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## Pi day jokes

Some old pi related jokes that I’ve seen a bazillion times:

Mathematician: Pi r squared
Baker: No! Pie are round, cake are square!

In Alaska, where it gets very cold, pi is only 3.00.
As you know, everything shrinks in the cold.
They call it Eskimo pi.

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are all given identical
rubber balls and told to find the volume. They are given anything they
want to measure it, and have all the time they need.

The mathematician
pulls out a measuring tape and records the circumference. He then
divides by two times pi to get the radius, cubes that, multiplies by pi
again, and then multiplies by four-thirds and thereby calculates the
volume.

The physicist gets a bucket of water, places 1.00000 gallons of
water in the bucket, drops in the ball, and measures the displacement
to six significant figures.

And the engineer? He writes down the serial
number of the ball, and looks it up.

Question: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern by its diameter?

Question: What do you get when you take the moon and divide its circumference by its diameter?

Question: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a bowl of ice cream by its diameter?

## Pi day theme song

Pi day theme song

(to the tune of “Happy Birthday“)

Happy Pi day to you,

Happy Pi day to you,

Happy Pi day everybody,

Happy Pi day to you!

Oh Number Pi – Song

(to the tune of “Oh Christmas Tree”)

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

No pattern are you sending.

You’re three point one four one five nine,

And even more if we had time,

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

For circle lengths unbending.

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

You are a number very sweet,

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

Your uses are so very neat.

There’s 2 Pi r and Pi r squared,

A half a circle and you’re there,

Oh, number Pi

Oh, number Pi

We know that Pi’s a tasty treat.

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## Google celebrates pi day 2010

Today, March 14th, is pi day! I guess the non-geeks don’t celebrate pi day, but thankfully, Google is the king of geeks. Happy pi day everyone!

You can see in Google’s “pi day logo” at their homepage has some famous formulas, including:

• the famous area of a circle formula: A = pi r^2
• the function sin x, with one period plotted
• Archimedes’ calculation of pi, namely: 223/71 < π < 22/7
• volume of a sphere: V = (4/3) pi r^3
• volume of a cylinder: V = pi r^2 h
• circumference of a circle: C = 2 pi r

## Pi Day Magic – Sunday, March 14th, 2010

James (@jamesgrime) and Brian (@shwood) have a promo on youtube for an event coming up that they are doing right now!!

They are attempting to perform the world’s largest mathematical magic trick on twitter.

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## My love for you is just like pi – Poem

Pi Poem (via FYM)

My love for you is just like pi,
Irrational and never-ending.
You’re the one who squares my i,
Time for reality, no more pretending.

Like the summation to infinity of one over n,
Like the domain of x squared, our love has no end.

A divide by zero, it’s undefined;
Equations to explain it you cannot find.

As the limit approaches infinity,
You’re the ln of e for me.

You’re perfect like 9, 16, or 25,
My constant like e to the x, derived.

We’re perpendicular in our affection,
Every point leads to our intersection.

This is no logistic growth, there’s no upper bound;
There’s no one I’d rather have around.

## Pi Lullaby Song

Turil
(via Reddit) created this “pi lullaby“, it’s pretty awesome! Turil says…

“It’s an mp3 file that I hope works for you. I made it with my speech to
text option on my Mac, using the Pipe Organ voice and text edit. I find
it very relaxing…”

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## Peebles Lab

I briefly talked about the webcomic Peebles Lab in an earlier post a long time ago, but not in its own post. Check it out if you haven’t already.

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