Mnemonics for Pi

The people who memorize thousands of digits of pi generally strike me as more inhuman than impressive – not at such tasks does the normal human mind excel. Nonetheless, being able to recall ten digits or so might allow you to win bets at geekier parties and, if that can be achieved painlessly, it may be worth doing.

Probably the best way to do so is with mnemonic techniques. You can get fifteen digits by using the number of letters in each word of the following phrase:

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

Many other examples, including an entire sonnet, are on the Wikipedia page for Piphilology.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

5 thoughts on “Mnemonics for Pi”

  1. Have you actually won a geek bet with only 10 digits of pi? I only know 5 myself, but I would only bet on someone at a geek party who could do at least a hundred digits.

  2. Most geeks know relatively practical stuff, which does not usually include digits of pi beyond five or so.

    In truth, I have never been to a party involving a pi-enumeration-competition. I just liked some of the mnemonics that people have created about this.

  3. Hello,

    You can easily create mnemonics (Jogs) at – if you put 3 1 4 1 in the target boxes (instead of the usual target WORDS) you can get lists of words with this number of letters. If you like JogLab please use the ‘share’ button to tell others…
    I love the phrase “not at such tasks does the normal human mind excel” though if you use the right tools it’s pretty good at it!

  4. My favourite mnemonic is for remembering the levels of taxonomy: (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species)

    King Phillip Came Over For Good Sex

  5. Order of geological time periods:

    (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Recent)

    Cows Often Sit Down Carefully. Perhaps Their Joints Creak?
    Persistent Early Oiling Might Prevent Painful Rheumatism.

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