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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Ho-dee-hi, hi-dee-ho, ho ho. by Sam M. '07

How many digits of pi do you know?

DID YOU KNOW? MIT undergraduate mathlete extraordinaire Reid Barton, four-time IMO gold medalist and Putnam fellow, has his own entry on Wikipedia.

I couldn’t think of anything to blog about in recent memory, but I had already uploaded these pictures to my webspace, so now you have to look at them. Sorry, what was I supposed to do? Pull out of my webspace without letting the pictures fulfill their purpose?

At marching band we devised a new cheer that we want to do with the crowd and cheerleaders. We’re going to try to premiere it at this week’s men’s ice hockey game and, if they’ll let us, do a “Marching Band on Ice” show (no skates). Well, if you’re planning to come to MIT you should read up on the cheer before you get here, since it’s sure to be legendary by the time you get here for orientation:

thing.jpg

You’re supposed to read it in four rhyming lines, like a poem. I was especially proud of us for the rhyme “three eight four” with “three and more!” Note that out of about ten people in the marching band, I’d say at least four had pi memorized to this many digits, and a fifth one was breaking out a laptop for verification as we spoke.

Now, here the top five reasons to have a beard.

1. Warmth
2. Less shaving
3. Protection from small insects
4. Never mistaken for a girl if somebody looks at you using their peripheral vision
5. When you see people in the hallway and you only marginally recognize that person–like from your orientation group, or your 8.01 recitation or that one quiz bowl meeting you went to, who you recognize and know by name, but haven’t ever really talked to except perhaps one time for two minutes five semesters ago, you don’t have to look at them or pause awkwardly to wave because they don’t recognize you.

And that is why you should have a beard at MIT.

On the first day of classes, after finding out the ISBNs for my classes, I went to order them on Amazon. I decided that it was either time to invest in a beard trimmer (to reap the benefits of free super saver shipping) or to shave. After some consultation, I decided on the latter option, and then decided that I am so incredibly cool that readers will even look pictures of me shaving my face.

thing.jpg

Pre-shave.

thing.jpg

I thought this might look a little neater, but quickly decided against that.

thing.jpg

So I went to the Genghis Khan look, kind of ironically.

thing.jpg

And then I youthened myself another five years.

Guys, I am watching the olympic opening ceremonies right now as I blog and the Italian dancers all just came together to form a BEATING HEART!

Now there are people dressed up as “sparks of passion” skating around with FIRE ON THEIR HEADS.

And now they just formed like 600 people with different colored shirts into the image of a GIANT SKI JUMPER who moved around and turned into starlight and shot out confetti!

I am now seriously ashamed that I thought this entry qualified as entertainment.

32 responses to “Ho-dee-hi, hi-dee-ho, ho ho.”

  1. Sulinya says:

    I know 101 digits:

    3.141592653897932384626433832795028841971
    6939937510582097494459230781640628620899

  2. abstract says:

    I know a mere…

    3.14159265358979323

    I’ll add the 84 to the end.

    My little sister (5 years younger) is up to the 150-digit range, though.

    Why did you decide to put your glasses on for the 2nd picture?

  3. Wenhao Sun says:

    Oh My F’ing God.

    This Reid Barton guy is absolutely ridiculous.

    – 4 time Gold in the IMO??!!!?!?!?! Putnam Fellow too???

    – “Reid took part time classes at Tufts University, in Chemistry (5th grade), Physics (6th grade), and subsequently Swedish, Finnish, French, and Chinese.”!!!!?? The latter three aren’t even related languages!

    – “He has earned two gold medals at the International Olympiad in Informatics, earning a first place finish in 2001 by an enormous margin, with 580 points out of 600, 55 ahead of his nearest rival. “

    – “Obtain[ed]the maximum score of 5 on the AP Calculus examination while still 10 years old”!!!!!!! I’d barely started Algebra then!

    That’s incredible. Like, in the actual meaning of the word, as in ‘not believable’. But wow that’s really really cool. That’s something to be jealous about. Wow.

    Wow. I’m still speechless.

    And I like the beard transformations. It’s like a new person each time hahaha. Very cool.

    – Wenhao Sun

  4. Jennifer says:

    Quotient rule?

    (Low D-high) minus (High D-Low) over (low)(low)

  5. Adam says:

    The world record was attempted by a monk.

    He got to the 52,812 number before he forgot.

    Beat that.

    As for me: 3.14159265

  6. I know 3.1415926535, but I always round it off to …54, because when I’m saying it aloud, it sounds more final. A friend of mine, though, knows 100+ digits, since eigth grade.

  7. 3.14159265358979323846264338327950
    2884197169399375105820974944592307
    8164062862089986280348253421170679
    8214808651328230664709384460955058
    2231725359408128481117… that many. To the tune of Yankee Doodle, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and an obscure Olde Englishe song about springtime. *nerd cred*

  8. Awww… it doesn’t all show up :(

  9. Wenhao Sun says:

    I think the world record was actually 84,000 by a japanese guy.

  10. Wenhao Sun says:

    And I only know 3.14159265358979323

  11. Maryanne says:

    I always found it more useful to memorize things that you might actually need to know sometime. Can anyone please tell me when in their life they will need to know pi to 100 digits?

  12. uh…how ’bout 3.14?

  13. Kristin R. says:

    A beardless Sam is a sad Sam, it seems.

    Alliteration: 1

    Me: 0

  14. You need to know more that 100 digits of pi to get nerd cred, of course… what fellow nerdish person could fail to be impressed with the geekiness that is you when you’re rattling off that many digits?

  15. Sulinya says:

    Sorry, I said I know 101 digits but I guess I neglected to put them all down or they got cut off:

    3.14159265389793238462643383279502884197169
    3993751058209749445923078164062862089986280
    348253421107679.

    Maryanne, you can’t really call yourself a proud math nerd or a friend of pi unless you know a few of its digits.

    I was in a really boring meeting, and the kid sitting in front of me had a lot of digits of pi in a circle on his back… so I sat there and memorized as many as I could… And so I know 101 digits.

  16. Dan says:

    ooh ooh that’s something I know! I know the first 140, although I don’t think it takes much talent.

    3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197
    1693993751058209749445923078164062862089
    9862803482534211706798214808651328230664
    709384460955058223172

  17. Kith says:

    You won’t believe how happy I am to finally find out that there is an MIT marching band! I asked during my tour, and nobody seemed to know. Since I can’t go drum corps (gah, summer jobs on the horizon)… well, assuming I get in, could you guys use a tromboner?

  18. Dinyar says:

    3.14159265

    I am ashamed.. I know e up to 15 digits after the comma though (2.718281828459045 – not too difficult to memorize that one, i know wink )

  19. Vivek says:

    3.141592653589793238462643383279502884
    19716939937510582097494459230781640628
    62089986203482534211767982148086513282
    30664709384460955058223172535948128

    upto 150 places if I got my digits right;;)

  20. Maryanne says:

    Ok, ok, y’all have convinced me. I am now enlightened to the importance of knowing pi- if only for nerd points. smile Though I wouldn’t earn too many myself, I only know 3.14159265…

  21. ybai says:

    I say…

    pi= ~3

    Whoop, guess I’m not going to MIT

  22. shen says:

    Seriously why memorize the digits of pi beyond 3.14? It’s a very irrational thing to do. smile

  23. Sam says:

    Sorry shen, couldn’t resist–

    Because it makes me feel transcendent.

  24. thekeri says:

    3.14159265358979

    In the classroom where I have my Calc BC class, the teacher who normally holds classes in that room had about 300 digits after the decimal scrolling around her wall.

    Unfortunately for me, she put those up about six years ago.

    Most of the digits are gone now, and that’s the longest uninterrupted string.

  25. Anonymous says:

    3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937

    5105820974944592307816406286208998620348253421176

    7982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359481

    5105820974944592307816406286208998620348253421176

    9749445923078164062862089986203482535505822235627

    6535897932384626433832795028841965358979323846264

    3383279502884199749445923078164062897494459230781

    6406289445923078164062869445923078164062865358979

    3238462643353589793238462643323406982346089728439

    2304986785764530298437689243875849098732460987223

    1223589478957098247509847609827348672049876890204

    2340968758784895973098476809283745690238460298374

    0098576349586720394854835969270101238471949126589

    1907824671238958192359871203459284364897589234577

    1097264829570289346798023498678349568735409687234

    1203894768294375809738456098738524305842369028947

    1203984728349750893275687839049857680293847545213

    7982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359481

    5105820974944592307816406286208998620348253421176

    9749445923078164062862089986203482535505822235627

    6535897932384626433832795028841965358979323846264

    3383279502884199749445923078164062897494459230781

    6406289445923078164062869445923078164062865358979

    3238462643353589793238462643323406982346089728439

    2304986785764530298437689243875849098732460987223

    1223589478957098247509847609827348672049876890204

    2340968758784895973098476809283745690238460298374

    0098576349586720394854835969270101238471949126589

    1907824671238958192359871203459284364897589234577

    1097264829570289346798023498678349568735409687234

    1203894768294375809738456098738524305842369028947

    1234089572389056728093470689732489507897487593…

    hehe..

  26. James says:

    Everyone else seems to be infatuated with pi, so I shall comment on an entirely different subject: I don’t have a wheel mouse, so I tend to scroll down by clicking the slider bar and dragging it. When I got to the line, “And then I youthened myself another five years” I started laughing, and my shaking arm caused me to scroll back up to the picture of Sam with a beard, at which point I realized that the aforementioned statement was quite accurate, and started laughing even harder. Of course, this new fit of laughter caused my arm to shake even more, scrolling me down to the picture of Sam as Ghengis Khan. I could have been stuck there for a long time if I hadn’t let go of the mouse button.

  27. Rogerzinho says:

    pi isn’t such an exciting thing to memorize, I guess some quotations from the bible or statistics from sports..

    you math geeks haven’t so many things to do have you?

    and by the way MEXICO RULES

  28. Anonymous says:

    3.14159265358979323846264338327950

    2884197169399375105820974944592307

    8164062862089986280348253421170679

    8214808651328230664709384460955058

    2231725359408128481117450284102701

    9385211055596446229489549303819644

    2881097566593344612847564823378678

    3165271201909145648566923460348610

    4543266482133936072602491412737245

    8700660631558817488152092096282925

    4091715364367892590360011330530548

    I would not suggest memorizing that. :D

    8204665213841469519415116094330572

    7036575959195309218611738193261179

    3105118548074462379962749567351885

    7527248912279381830119491298336733

    6244065664308602139494639522473719

    0702179860943702770539217176293176

    7523846748184676694051320005681271

    4526356082778577134275778960917363

    7178721468440901224953430146549585

    3710507922796892589235420199561121

    2902196086403441815981362977477130

    9960518707211349999998372978049951

    0597317328160963185950244594553469

    0830264252230825334468503526193118

    8171010003137838752886587533208381

    4206171776691473035982534904287554

    6873115956286388235378759375195778

    1857780532171226806613001927876611

    1959092164201989380952572010654858

    6327886593615338182796823030195203

    5301852968995773622599413891249721

    7752834791315155748572424541506959

    5082953311686172785588907509838175

    4637464939319255060400927701671139

    0098488240128583616035637076601047

    1018194295559619894676783744944825

    5379774726847104047534646208046684

    2590694912933136770289891521047521

    6205696602405803815019351125338243

    0035587640247496473263914199272604

    2699227967823547816360093417216412

    1992458631503028618297455570674983

    8505494588586926995690927210797509

    3029553211653449872027559602364806

    6549911988183479775356636980742654

    2527862551818417574672890977772793

    8000816470600161452491921732172147

    7235014144197356854816136115735255

    2133475741849468438523323907394143

    3345477624168625189835694855620992

    1922218427255025425688767179049460

    1653466804988627232791786085784383

    8279679766814541009538837863609506

    8006422512520511739298489608412848

    8626945604241965285022210661186306

    7442786220391949450471237137869609

    5636437191728746776465757396241389

    0865832645995813390478027590099465

    7640789512694683983525957098258226

    2052248940772671947826848260147699

    0902640136394437455305068203496252

    4517493996514314298091906592509372

    2169646151570985838741059788595977

    2975498930161753928468138268683868

    9427741559918559252459539594310499

    7252468084598727364469584865383673

    6222626099124608051243884390451244

    1365497627807977156914359977001296

    1608944169486855584840635342207222

    5828488648158456028506016842739452

    2674676788952521385225499546667278

    2398645659611635488623057745649803

    5593634568174324112515076069479451

    0965960940252288797108931456691368

    6722874894056010150330861792868092

    0874760917824938589009714909675985

    2613655497818931297848216829989487

    2265880485756401427047755513237964

    1451523746234364542858444795265867

    8210511413547357395231134271661021

    3596953623144295248493718711014576

    5403590279934403742007310578539062

    1983874478084784896833214457138687

    5194350643021845319104848100537061

    4680674919278191197939952061419663

    4287544406437451237181921799983910

    1591956181467514269123974894090718

    6494231961567945208095146550225231

  29. Nina says:

    Hi! Well, I believe that for the purpose of pure mathematics and physics, the sign ”

  30. Sam says:

    Okay kids, here we go.

    Wenhao — Yes, and by all accounts, I’ve heard that Reid is a tremendously nice guy, too, although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him. My ex-roommate played soccer against him, and said he’s not so bad at that either.

    Jennifer — YES! I was going to put something in the entry to ask if anybody recognized the title, but I’m glad you recognized it yourself.

    abstract — I think there was some aspect of that horribly misconceived beard I wanted to see better, so I had my glasses on for a better look and forgot to take them off before the picture. That is actually the last picture of me ever taken in those glasses, because I stepped on them and crushed them this weekend.

    Kristin R — On the contrary, I’ve actually been pretty relieved not to have a beard. No stuck foodstuffs, and my face suddenly feels so young and supple.

    Adam — I, uh… don’t think I can beat that. Really. Go monk.

    Kathleen — I used to sing it to “American Pi(e?)” — “Pi, pi, 13 digits of pi, 3.141592653589.” But my best one, I think, was the periodic table of the elements set to the can-can, which I can still do up to Argon.

    Rhiannon — Yes, the first time I got interested in memorizing it I got up to …54 because that was all my calculator displayed. This was like 5th grade during standardized tests. The other thing I liked to do was see if I could come up with a number such that, when you repeatedly pressed the “squared” key, you would get 9.99999999e99. It was something like 37.5125, perhaps?

    Wenhao II — Those Japanese, first they beat us at hot dog eating and now they beat monks at pi memorization. Is there anything they can’t do?

    Maryanne — To win a contest.

    Nicholas — Hey, 3.2 was almost good enough for the indiana state legislature in the nineteenth century.

    Sulinya — So, I guess I would be a “friend of pi,” then, in your estimation?

    Kith — We currently have about 13 active members, so we could use whatever you can play. I think we actually have like 4 trombones and 3 sousaphones, and anywhere from 2-3 people to play all of them

    Vivek — From memory? No cheating, now. That’s no way to get into MIT. I’m telling Ben.

    Dinyar — Yeah, I know e up to …4590452353 just because it’s fun to say. My favorite is actually phi (1 + sqrt 5 / 2) but nobody cares about it anymore.

    ybai — Hey, that sounds like a good “engineering approximation” to this chemical engineer. Also good to remember is pi^2 = 10; you wouldn’t believe how much that comes in handy.

    James — Glad to hear your most poetic description of your experiences with this entry. I sincerely hope that you, and nobody else, looked at that third picture for too long.

    Rogerinzho — Well, I do know “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” by Walt Whitman. Mexico does indeed rule; my freshman year roommate was from a small town there and spent a lot of time explaining its coolness to me.

  31. Sarah says:

    hey, my Calc BC class also has pi across the wall and I had the same room in 10th grade and I didn’t know anyone to talk to so I got to 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716 and it gets a little hazy after that.

  32. Moo says:

    Better approximation? of course. Try

    31415926535/10000000000