Richard Salomon rsalomon at
Tue May 9 15:48:10 UTC 1995

I am interested in tracking down further details concerning a report that
I saw myself in the press some time ago, that of a young Indian man who,
having already memorized the value of pi to 31,811 places, has now
declared his intention to memorize it (the value of pi) to the millionth
place. I was able to locate the name of a Mr.  Rajan Mahadevan, who is
reported to have memorized the value of pi to the 31,811th place, but I am
not sure if he is the one who wishes to go on to one million.  I am
prompted to check this because of two things:  one of my students brought
to me a press report of a Chinese schoolboy who has recited the value of
pi to 4,000 places "from memory, astonishing witnesses and smashing a
record set by another Chiense boy."  The other reason is that I think that
this ability to memorize things seems to be highly valued in Indic culture
in many ways, and can of course be observed in many other contexts, such
as the traditional memorization of texts.  It is hard to imagine another
culture on earth where anyone would even want to do memorize the value of
pi to so many places (even though we have the report from China); in Indic
culture it seems not at all extraordinary, given such feats as the
traditional memorization of Vedic texts etc.  If anyone has any more
information about Mr.  Mahadevan, or anybody else's (non-traditional)
memorization feats in the Indian context, I would appreciate hearing from

Please reply directly to haroldfs at (Hal Schiffman, Asian 
Languages, U. of Washington, Seattle.)


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