Girl, 13, Has Memorized 2.3K Digits of Pi

She recites 1.7K in competition to win prize

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 20, 2014 12:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – On Friday, March 14—dubbed "Pi Day" because, well, 3/14—13-year-old Rachel Ooi won $314.15 (yes, 1 and 5 are the next two digits in pi) by reciting 1,715 digits of pi from memory. And that's not the best she can do: Ooi tells the Tennessean she can actually recite more than 2,300 digits, but her nerves caused her to falter during the 2014 Princeton Pi Recitation Competition, which allows kids 13 and under to battle it out. "When I got the hang of it, it was pretty easy," Ooi tells News Channel 5. "When I'm reciting the numbers it's like I have an invisible paper in front of me that has all the numbers."

Ooi loves numbers and math, and started memorizing the never-ending digits of pi in October. She was born with glaucoma, and her father says she started learning pi as a hobby when she began losing her vision: "She started to find something else to do. She kind of enjoyed doing this for fun." Her mom reads her the numbers in four-digit chunks, and she memorizes them. It took her more than 10 minutes to recite the series that snagged her prize. After visiting Princeton, she says she wants to attend college there. Another goal? She wants to learn the first 20,000 digits of pi. (Can't recall more than the first 10 digits? Turn to these 10 memorization tips, from a pro.)

  (Shutterstock)
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