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Bountiful 7th grader memorizes more than 350 digits of pi

By Keith McCord | Posted - Mar 29th, 2013 @ 8:47pm


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BOUNTIFUL — A 7th grader at Mueller Park Junior High School can't deny her love for pi. Not the dessert though — the number.

Shannon Murray pulled out a big surprise for Pi Day, March 14. Her teacher, Brandon Welker, told his math students earlier this year that there would be a pi-memorizing contest on 3/14. They could write or recite as many digits as they could remember.

The numbers go on forever in no particular order or pattern, making this a difficult task.


"If she has something in her head, she will accomplish it. She doesn't know what less than 200 percent even is, she gives it all."

"Those that give it a halfhearted effort do 10 to 20," he said.

But Shannon was up to the challenge.

"Depending on what it is, if I want to memorize it, I can memorize it," she said.

She wasn't kidding — she was able to recite 367 digits from memory and said it was easy as pie. Welker said the previous record from the year before was 105.

"I was hoping for maybe just a record-breaking year, but this was record shattering," he said. "We were all impressed."

What is...

pi?

The number pi is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159.

How does one study for pi? In her spare time, Shannon would constantly write down numbers and add to them repeatedly. Her notebook and journal contain nothing but numbers.

"I went in groups of about 3 to 5 numbers," she said. "I would write that out. I would write just a little piece of it, including the newly-added piece."

Shannon was planning to memorize 200 digits for the contest. Her mother had no doubt that she would do it.

"I just knew she would," said Sarah Murray. "If she has something in her head, she will accomplish it. She doesn't know what less than 200 percent even is, she gives it all."

It took about 10 minutes to write out the 367 digits, and when Shannon finished, she had no idea what she accomplished.

"She didn't mess up, she just stopped and said that was as far as she was going to go," said Welker.

Welker said her show of pi expertise earned Shannon an A grade. The world record for reciting pi was set by a Chinese college student a few years ago — he wrote 67,890 digits.

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