the value of pi

π, whose approximate value to eight decimal places is 3.14159265, is actually the symbol, derived from Greek alphabet, for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is a universal constant; meaning that its value is always the same for any circle. Pi is an irrational number whose decimal places go on infinitely without repeating or ending in zeros. Computers can estimate pi with great accuracy - the current known value of π having been figured to more than 1.24 trillion (1,200,000,000,000) decimal places.

When calculating the value of π, computers use equations; but how does a human calculate the value of π to 100,000 decimal places? Basic arithmetic? Sounds ridiculous. But recently a Japanese man named Akira Haraguchi, aged 60, showed up in Kisarazu public hall claiming to recite the value of π to one hundred thousand decimal places without any aid. In fact, he did succeed in reading aloud the value as he had claimed. Spectators were amazed, the hall cheered aloud! At the end of the function a local news reporter asked him the secret of this feat, for which Haraguchi replied, "I used a series of pictures to memorize the digits".

Impressive! Human memory is indeed wonderful. Sugoi, Haraguchisan - gambatte kudasai!


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