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- August 18, 2005
A mnemonic device is a code or way of assisting your memory to recall sets of numbers or words. As a kid back in the 1950s, I had an old maid grade school teacher, Miss Irma Geyser, who taught us a mnemonic to remember "pi", the number of times that the diameter of a circle fits around its circumference, about 3 1/7 or 3.14. The well memorized phrase goes, "How I want a slice, pineapple or cherry."
"Think of eating pie" she would say, "and then write down the phrase and count the letters of each word to arrive at pi to seven decimal places". How=3, I=1, want=4, a=1, slice=5, and so forth, to obtain 3.1415926. It wasn't until I entered college that I discovered that my old grade school teacher probably had borrowed the idea from the classical university physics gem: "How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after dry lofty lectures outlining quantum mechanics", the mnemonic for 3.14159265358979 (pi to 14 decimal places).
Reprinted from Doc Finstuen's monthly byline column "You Bet Your Life" which appeared in the November 1996 issue of Gaming Times Magazine, page 21, in an article entitled "Casinos Toll Free? Dial 1-800-Mnemonic!". Doc Finstuen is a Ph.D. statistician and graduate school professor at a university in southwestern Texas.
-- (August 18, 2005)
on Pi Quotes