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Friday, April 8, 2011

Memorizing digits of PI - revisited

A quality shared by all great mathematicians of the past is that they did not try to make an impression with their knowledge but instead shared their knowledge to the benefit of all. Someone who keeps his knowledge to himself demotes knowledge to a set of tricks and himself to a mere magician.

I don't know the author of the comment below but in the tradition of the best, he wrote the following comment to the post 'How to remember 1000 digits of Pi' which I received earlier this week but only read today. Not often do I receive a comment that I promote to a full post. As you will see it deserves to be.

Remembering the first 1,000 digits of Pi is a very simple task. It sounds daunting at first, but I assure you it is much easier than you think. The method you are using only complicates the process. You need to use the Dominic Method with the Journey Method. The Dominic Method uses 100 characters, each representing a number and letter code.

For instance: 11 on my list is Andre Agassi; his action is playing tennis, naturally. To remember 4 digits at one time, you pair 1 character with the 2nd characters action. So for the first 4 digits of Pi, we have: 3.1415 which corresponds to: Andy Dick writing on a blackboard (1415). AD=14, AE=15. AE is Albert Einstein and his action is writing on a blackboard. So pairing the first character and giving him the second character's action gives you a sequence of 4 digits.

The NEXT step, after memorizing your 100 person list (which gives you 10,000 memory storage locations) is to put them on a Journey. Take a familiar Journey around your house, neighborhood, etc. For instance, start in your bathroom: You have Andy Dick writing on a blackboard IN YOUR BATHTUB. Then you have Norman Bates (92) playing with toys (65)IN YOUR TOILET...then at your get the idea.

If you want clarification on this or help with your 100 person list, let me know. People have used this technique to memorize 75,000 digits of Pi. I have a journey with 1,000. A simple 50 mile round-trip stretch of highway with landmarks to "Put" these characters on will suffice for 250 storage locations of 4 digits (1 person with 2nd action) at each, which equals 1,000 digits. Email me at: if you want more info/help.

The author clearly knows what he is talking about as he refers to the Dominic method and the Journey method, both seem well known methods in the realm of memorizing. ( I must admit that I was not aware of either of them. Another reason why I enjoy learning new stuff. ) It seems that the key is Memorizing the 100 Person List. That is do-able, I suppose.

Clearly, I will start learning more about the methods and start experimenting with them. More soon.


  1. Joshua Foer's current popular book, "Walking With Einstein" is all about this sort of thing, for those interested in memory tricks:


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