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Calvin Trillin's article "DIGITS - TRY TO REMEMBER" on pages 23-24 of the April 4 issue of The New Yorker offers some interesting comments the recitation of many digits of pi.

I learned this sentence from a little paperbound book I ordered from Scholastic (or some such outfit) Books as a little kid in elementary school:

May I have a large container of coffee?

3___1__4_1___5____9___2___6

I sometimes teach it to some students. Some got a kick out of it, some didn't really care, and I think, unfortunately, few remember it!

Edited: 2 Apr 2011, 11:20 a.m.

Why would some of them care about memorizing a mnemonic when it's so easy to press a key on a calculator and come up with 8-12 digits of Pi in an instant? Yet the subject of "Piphilology" is very interesting and fun. I like, "See, I have a rhyme assisting my feeble brain, its tasks oft-times resisting".

Did you bring the subject up to your students on Pi Day (March 14th)? Have them check out how far they've memorized Pi by testing them here if they'd prefer something interactive: http://www.cow-pi.com/eng

Challenge your students (especially if you're a math teacher) to an instant "A" if they can beat either the current world record holder Chao Lu (http://pi-world-ranking-list.com/lists/memo/) for memorizing 67,890 digits of Pi or the unrecognized (by Guinness that is) of Akira Haraguchi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_Haraguchi) at a 100,000 digits.

Pi up to 12 digits is not much of a problem: 3.14159265359, from memory. Now, just in case I forget about 32, I've made this little reminder :-)

163/ln(163)+1/((744+1/(19*pi^6*(744/12+1/33)+1/(744(Sqrt(2)-1))))^2(sqrt(3)-3/10+1/(3^4*(744+1/(19*pi^6*(744/12+1/33)+1/(744 (sqrt(2)-1)))))))

Now seriously, I prefer this one:

```How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics!
3. 1   4  1   5       9       2    6      5     3   5      8         9        7        9
```

Not to be taught to young students though.

Regards,

Gerson.

Is it easier to get pi by remembering the mnemonic, or to get the mnemonic by remembering pi?

I'd forgotten the second part:

```All of thy geometry, Herr Planck, is fairly hard.
3   2  3      8       4     6     2   6      4
```

A mere "A" for getting a world record seems kind of a pathetic reward.

That'd be like an English teacher using Shakespeare to challenge his students: Write 38 plays that are likely to be remembered as some of the greatest ever even 400 years from now, and you can get an A in the course!

Or maybe a business teacher offering an A to the person in the class who becomes the world's richest person.

I think even memorizing enough digits to get a 100% score on this game is worth a reward. Maybe an automatic 3 full letter grade boost. Though if the person was likely to get an A anyway (which would probably be the case for anyone willing to make the effort) they'd need an extra reward on top. Maybe a calculator?

It isn't pathetic if it is the only way to achieve an A :-)

- Pauli

I agree that receiving an "A" would be a pathetic reward for such an achievement. If one could memorize that many of "anything", Pi or otherwise, they probably could go on achieve whatever they set their mind to.

I remember my last high school electronics teacher telling me that the only way I could get an "A" in his class was to get my ham radio license so ... I studied for it in the classroom storage area so I could do it in relative quiet. Got my "A".

Wasn't quite the achievement as memorizing nth digits of Pi would have been ...

How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics!

The article in The New Yorker offered nearly the same mnemonic, but with "chapters" replacing "lectures".

The article also stated that this form of poetry (?) is known as a piem. I don't find that word in any of my dictionaries.

Back in the 1980's My friend George Thomson (now deceased) sent a mnemonic for remembering the first thirty digits of pi which had appeared on page 309 of the April 1969 issue of Datamation;

Now I, even I, would celebrate in rhymes inept,
The great immortal Syracusan, rivaled nevermore,
Who in his wondrous lore passed on before,
Left men his guidance how to circles mensurate.

Quote:
The article also stated that this form of poetry (?) is known as a piem. I don't find that word in any of my dictionaries.

That's a wordplay with poem. In the mathworld link elsewhere in this thread there's a mnemonic by M. Keith based on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". Here is a link to the full piem or Poem:

Quote:
Now I, even I, would celebrate in rhymes inept, The great immortal Syracusan, rivaled nevermore, Who in his wondrous lore passed on before, Left men his guidance how to circles mensurate.

That's also a very nice one. I first read about it in

Once I mentioned a series that would converge quickly to pi, but only for the first few digits. I couldn't help bragging then: "Hey, I have a nifty algorithm to better solve the first decimals!" :-)

No Jim, I'm not a math teacher; but I'm a chemist and these are college courses. I suspect (hope??) a couple of them could teach ME some math. I've heard some folks kid around about Mole Day (June 23), but I never remember.

I actually use that little pi mnemonic sometimes to chide them for their over-reliance on things electronical, even my beloved calculators. They (well, mainly freshmen and sophomores) report digits, as those of pi, as if they were a totalitarian secret police intended to spy on numerals, because that's what the stoolie calculator told them. No thought is given to the reality of the situation as far as the precision of the input figures, so how much less is given to the results!

In most science, even the classroom, how many significant digits are generally used? Certainly, it isn't nine or twelve. So, often I tell them when the ask, "It's 3.14; that's good enough for us!" Sometimes, it's even 3.1415!

(And let's not even worry about the error of the result, or even how many digits ought to be reported in that value itself!) What was that word used once, innumeracy?

Unfortunate, Gerson!

Most taking quantum mechanics as a class are still kids! But who needs pi to anything more than three to five digits in quantum??! Not even in stat mech (thermo)!...

... maybe such precision could be needed in calibrating a thermocouple or some reference volume... or maybe not!