6.10.2006

Memorizing Numbers

This post on buildyourmemory.com describes an interesting method for memorizing long numbers. Basically you associate sounds to each digit 0-9 and then create short words from these. For example, 1 is represented by the 'd' or 't' sounds, so 11 could be 'dad'. Two is represented by 'n', so 12 = 'dan'. The four digit 1112 could be 'dad dan', from which you could create a mental image easily enough. The idea is that our brains are wired to remember images and stories better than raw numbers, so we transform the data into the former.

I remember in high school (nerd that I was), I memorized the digits of pi to 50 places by sheer rote recitation. I can still remember 3.14159265358979323846264338, but that's it. In fact, I haven't checked this against a real computation lately, so if you're relying on .00000000000001% precision or so, you'd better check it.

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