Contest easy as Pi for maths whiz Sam
FOR Year 9 maths whiz Sam Jacobi, memorising numbers is as easy as Pi.
The 13-year-old showed off his talent for recalling digits when he recited Pi to the 361st decimal place yesterday.
For those who didn't pay attention in maths class, Pi is the number you get when you divide the circumference of a circle by its diameter.
It is an irrational number, meaning it cannot be written as a simple fraction. Instead it is expressed as an infinite, non-repeating decimal.
The West Moreton Anglican College (WestMAC) student performed the feat as part of the school's inaugural Pi Competition.
It was held to mark International Pi Day - a whole 24 hours set aside to celebrate the famous number.
Sam - who won the middle school section - said his technique for reciting Pi was to break up the long sequence of numbers into smaller blocks to memorise.
He said it took him a week-and-a-half to commit that many numbers to memory.
Winner of the senior contest, Year 12 student Yuri Sugita, won her section by reciting Pi to the 100th decimal place.
The 18-year-old said maths wasn't her strong point, but memorising the numbers had not been too difficult.
She said it only took a few hours of writing the numbers down before she had the 100 decimals memorised.
WestMAC's head of mathematics Suzanne Garvey said she wanted to do something on International Pi Day which would help students realise what they were capable of if they pushed themselves.
"Knowing Pi is not necessarily that useful but it shows students that they can do anything they put their minds to," she said.
Ms Garvey said she didn't expect many students to memorise more than 80 decimals and was amazed by Sam and Yuri's achievements.
Pi of the Tiger
The world record for memorising Pi was achieved by Chao Lu, of China, who recited Pi from memory to 67,890 places, on November 20, 2005. Mr Lu, a chemistry student, attempted the record after practising for four years. The attempt lasted 24 hours and four minutes with an error made at the 67,891st digit; he said it was a '5' when it was actually a '0'. He claimed he had 100,000 digits memorised.