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© 1999-2010 by Francis Edward Su

From the Fun Fact files, here is a Fun Fact at the Easy level:

# Memorizing Pi

The digits of Pi are fascinating. As the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, Pi has such a fundamental definition, and yet this ratio is irrational and so its decimal expansion never repeats. It is easy to be mesmerized by the digits of the decimal expansion:

3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510...

and many people have tried to memorize digits of pi for fun.

One fun way to memorize the first few digits is to use sentence mnemonics for pi--- phrases in which the number of letters of each successive word corresponds to a digit of pi. Here are some well-known pi mnemonics:

"Wow! I made a great discovery!" (3.14159...)

"Can I have a small container of coffee?" (3.1415926...)

"How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics." (3.14159265358979...)

Presentation Suggestions:
For more fun on Pi, see also Pi Approximations and Finding the N-th digit of Pi.

The Math Behind the Fact:
It is fun to try writing your own story or poem as a pi mnemonic. One decision you'll have to make is how to deal with 0's in the decimal expansion of pi (such as in the 32nd decimal place). Some choose to use a 10-letter word to represent a zero. Others choose to use non-period punctuation.

Su, Francis E., et al. "Memorizing Pi." Math Fun Facts. <http://www.math.hmc.edu/funfacts>.

Keywords:    pi mnemonics, pi day
Subjects:    geometry, other
Level:    Easy
Fun Fact suggested by:   Francis Su
Suggestions? Use this form.
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