Adriana Martin (2007 – )
» Youngest person to recite more than 600 digits… and counting!
It all began when Adriana Martin’s kindergarten teacher challenged her and her classmates to learn 20 digits of Pi. Just 20… which is quite a feat for a 5 or 6 year old, but not nearly enough to satisfy Adriana.
She needed only two days to commit those 20 digits to memory, so she decided to go for 40, which her teacher said was the kindergarten record. Still not satisfied, Adriana told her parents she wanted to go for 100. This started approaching school-wide competitive territory, so she pressed on and learned 120 in time for Southfield School’s overall pi recitation contest. Indeed, Adriana placed 4th in the whole K-8 school!
But was that enough for Adriana? Not even close. The Shreveport, La. native was so proud of her showing in the school-wide contest that she became determined to win it outright the next year – in 1st grade, that is. The prior year’s winner had recited about 250, and the all-time school record was 300. Instead of aiming for, say, 301, Adriana decided it would be most appropriate to… double it.
She devoured the digits, 12 to 15 at a time, repeating each new string back to Mom or Dad until it was perfect, then adding it to the last 50 she had firmed up. And then once a week, she would start at the 3 and recite them all.
In March 2014, Adriana sat down at school with a stack of paper, each containing about a hundred blank spaces for writing down the digits. To everyone’s astonishment, she dutifully wrote down 600 of them… and 3 more for good measure.
In March 2015, using the same written approach, she reeled off an unbelievable 1,420 digits. (She actually made it up to 1,456, but she transposed digits 1,421 and 1,422… and the rules are the rules!)
And in March 2016, Adriana didn’t let up. In fact, she nearly doubled her previous total, reaching a stunning 2,812 digits!
When asked how she remembers all those numbers, Adriana simply says that she can see them in her head. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy for the rest of us?
Adriana’s potential for rewriting the pi memory record books is, you might say, infinite. She can continue to blaze through the elementary school rankings, but as she grows, she’ll have to face down the work of a couple of imposing figures: Richard Guo (3,101 digits in 4rd grade), Sierra Van Such (2,109 digits in 8th grade) and Gaurav Raja (you’ll have to read his story to see how many he rattled off!).