Using the Coordinate System to Memorize Pi
Just as it is impossible to calculate all the digits of pi, so it is impossible to memorize them. Fractions such as 22/7 or 355/113 can provide useful working approximations – but that is all they can ever be. Using such fractions is not a recognized way of remembering pi. If you really want to memorize pi then try the coordinate system for up to 5,200 digits.
The coordinate system for memorizing pi uses a grid system to encode four digit groups using words based on the Major system using consonant sounds, and is capable (unmodified) of storing 2,600 digits.
For this advanced technique you need to be familiar with the Link System and the Major System. There are some variations on this method – lists or grids. We will use the grid approach here. You can easily set this up with a spreadsheet. Picture a grid with letters of the alphabet along one side, and the digits 0-9 along the other. That’s 260 cells. We only include the digits after the decimal point.
You do need to be clear about how many digits you plan to remember, as that influences the basic grid design. If you are aiming for several thousand digits, then you will need to store 10 digits in each cell. For simplicity here, each cell will contain 4 digits of pi.
The first 4 digits of pi will be associated with cell A0.
First, encode the cell ID using A (the row identifier) and ‘saw’ (0 from the Major system). Then, again using the Major system, encode the digits 1415 for example, TuRTLe. Now make the mental image link between ‘saw’ and ‘turtle’ (the Link system) and record the words ‘saw-turtle’ in cell A0. So on and so forth.
This basic grid of 10 x 26 x 4 digits will accommodate 1,040 digits – and don’t forget the first digit, 3, which we left out of the grid.
Pros and Cons of the Coordinate System
The main advantage of the Coordinate system for memorizing pi is that the series of digits can be picked up from anywhere within the remembered series. Also, it is capable of satisfying the needs of most people with its capacity for 2,600 digits, or 5,200 after minor modification. Other modifications can take it further.
However, on the negative side it does require two levels of decoding – the mental map of the coordinate grid and the digit words themselves via the Major system.
How to Beat the World Record for Memorizing Pi
To beat the official world record you would have to remember more than 67,890 digits. This is quite a challenging task. It might be accomplished by visualizing a building with the rooms on each floor being a grid (as described above). You would have to devise a grid for each floor with a floor number identifier on the words. 10 floors would give you 26,000 digits, but to take the official record your elevator would have to take you up to the 27th floor (ground floor = 0).