Memory Expert Attempts World Pi Record

Watch a short video describing the record attempt, which has been rescheduled for March 29.

Saratoga Springs Hosts World Record Attempt

Have trouble remembering phone numbers or important dates? Imagine memorizing a 10,000 digit number so well that you could recall a specific segment when given the numbers near it. Now imagine doing that fifty times in a row, perfectly, in less than 17 minutes.

On Wednesday, Washington County resident Brad Zupp will attempt to break a world record that has been called “The Everest of Pi Memorization Tests.” It involves knowing not only the first 10,000 digits of Pi in five-digit segments: 3.   14159  26535   8979… but also being able to instantly identify any of the segments.

Zupp will be given 50 random segments and must be correctly recall the five digits both before and after every given segment.

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, approximated as 3.14159, and has an infinite number of digits with no apparent pattern.

“I want to inspire people to exercise their minds,” said Zupp, who lives in Greenwich. "This feat is no different than training to climb a mountain or run a marathon, it's just training the mind instead of the body."

The first 10,000 digits of Pi that Zupp has memorized and will be tested on.

The first 10,000 digits of Pi that Zupp has memorized and will be tested on.

Zupp is a ‘memory athlete’ and motivational speaker who trains his mind to push the boundaries of what is possible.

The attempt will be held starting at 9:00 am at SUNY Empire State College, 2 Union Avenue, Room 126, in Saratoga Springs, hosted by the Academy for Lifelong Learning and SUNY Empire State College. (Please park on the street only, not in the lot reserved for college employees.)

Guests are welcome, however, seating is limited. All are welcome to watch via Facebook Live via Zupp’s page: It will also be  live streamed on ESC TV at Throughout the event, Zupp will answer questions and offer memory tips.


Brad Zupp with Team USA Silver Medal trophy from the World Memory Championships 2015 in Chengdu, China

Brad Zupp with Team USA Silver Medal trophy from the World Memory Championships 2015 in Chengdu, China

Brad Zupp

Brad Zupp is a motivational speaker, author (Unlock Your Amazing Memory) and memory improvement expert who shows people how to supercharge their memories to improve sales, productivity, and peace of mind.

He is also a record-setting memory athlete, and in December, 2015 was the co-captain of the silver medal winning Team USA at the Memory Championships in China.


For photos and other press resources, scroll down.


Event Details

DATE: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 (Pi Day - Rescheduled!)


  • 9:00 am  - Judges briefing and set up.

  • 9:30 am - Introduction by Brad, followed by three attempts at the record.

  • 11 am (approximately) - The record attempts will be followed by a short memory presentation describing how Brad memorized 10,000 digits of Pi and how anyone can improve their ability to remember. Brad will also answer questions about memory improvement.


  • SUNY Empire State College

       2 Union Avenue, Room 126

       Saratoga Springs, NY

       Please park on the street only, not in the back parking lot.


  • Brad Zupp, Memory Athlete and Memory Improvement Expert

  • Jeff Shinaman and Vera Kasson from the Academy of Lifelong Learning will judge, along with other volunteers

Spectators welcome. Limited seating. Pie served after the record attempts.

The Challenge

The Matrix Memorisation of Pi

  • A five digit number is randomly selected from the first 10,000 digits of Pi and called out.

  • The record breaker states the five digits before and after, and then the next block is called out.

  • This is repeated 50 times.

  • The record is for the time taken to recall the event, with no errors.


History of the record:

1. Philip Bond (U.K) 18 May 1994. Time 53 minutes

2. Kevin Horsley (South Africa) 28 Aug 1999. Time 39 minutes

3. Philip Bond (U.K) 28 June 2004. Time 29 min 51 sec

4. Jan Harms (Germany) 27 July 2007. Time 20 min 30 sec

5. Mats Bergsten (Sweden) 12 Feb 2008. Time 17 min 39 sec

6. Kevin Horsley (South Africa) 14 March 2013. Time 16min 38sec (Current record).

Challenge Rules

Description: Layout of the numbers for the record

1. The number consists of the first 10,000 decimals of Pi after the decimal point. 
14159 26535 89793 23846 etc.

2. The digits are printed in blocks of five digits, ten blocks in a line.
14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510 58209 74944...

3. The record is for the time taken to recall the event. It is worth bearing in mind that the number of ‘collisions’ (the same set of five digits occurring two or more times) rises very rapidly past 10,000. So that is the reason for keeping the number of digits at 10,000. 

On the day of the record

4. Each judge is given sheets with the digits of Pi printed clearly on them.

5. A judge will call out a RANDOMLY chosen block of five digits.

The five digit blocks must be randomly taken from any page. The number must not follow on each other from each of the thousand groups. It must be chosen randomly.
Group one – the 4000th digit area, Group two – 7000th area, Group three – 2000th area etc.

6. The record breaker then recalls the block of five digits before and the block after.
83279 and 41971

It does not matter which block is recalled first HOWEVER the order must be clear. The default is that the first block is recalled first.

Saying "83279 and 41971" is correct 

Saying "41971 is the second block and 83279 is the first block" is also correct as the order is identified.

7. The record attempt consists of 50 blocks called out by the judges (and hence a total of 100 blocks recalled for a total of 500 recalled digits). NO ERRORS may be made in the recall. Here a clarification is needed:

The record breaker may correct themselves when recalling, but at the end of each recalled set of blocks the record breaker should say "Next" (meaning next block from the judges). At that point the answer cannot be changed. No hinting or prodding from judges should be allowed of course.

Judge: "26535"
Record breaker: “14159 and 89763, no that is 89793. Next”
Judge: "Correct. 76397"
Record breaker: “55418 comes first then 92934, no 92933. Next”
Judge: “Correct. 73455" etc.

This just avoids failing to break a record because one says six when one means seven (it does happen when recalling 500 digits). This way a "verbal typo" can be corrected.

8. The judges can say "Correct" at the end of each correct set of blocks recalled when the digits are correct and the record breaker has said "Next", and hence committed themselves.

9. In the event that a block occurs multiple times (which happens occasionally) then all of the occurrences must be used by the record breaker. A list of all such repetitions should be given to the judges beforehand so that they can quickly check them all. It should be mentioned that this happens very infrequently and is an unlikely event when the blocks are chosen at random.

10. Randomness:

Independent judges pick digits from a copy of the sheets. Each sheet is to have 2000 or 1000 digits, and be used equally often.

With 10,000 decimals (2000 digits per page) there are 5 sheets and 50 attempts, so each sheet is to be used 10 times. Or, 10 sheets (1000 digits per page) and 50 attempts, so each sheet is used 5 times. This ensures that the record breaker has learnt all sheets equally well, and that the judges are not picking from only a few sheets.

11. The record is for the time taken to complete the event. The event is continuous. The clock does not stop. 

12. If a mistake is made, the attempt is over and the record breaker must start all over again (reset the timer, start from 0, new set of chosen numbers). He will only get 3 max attempts for the day.

13. The record breaker may say “pass” and continue on to the next number, but he MUST come back and complete that passed number in order for his attempt to count. In other words, the 50 chosen numbers are pre-set and can not be changed. He must get all of those correct in the record-breaking time to break the record. So whatever he “passes” must be answered eventually, but he can save them for last to try and save time.

Verification Rules

  1. The event must be filmed. The footage must be clearly visible and of good quality. The entire attempt must be filmed and the camera must be focused on the attempt at all times, and preferably be static. A loud start and finish signal must also be recognized on the Footage.
  2. Three to five independent people of standing in the community must judge the event. Each judge must also sign a witness statement confirming the record.
  3. The event must take place in a public place or in a venue open for public inspection.
  4. The event is continuous. The clock does not stop.
  5. Two experienced timekeepers must time the attempt with stopwatches accurate to 0.01 seconds e.g. 16:38.35min.

The First 10,000 Digits of Pi

Click here to download as a PDF

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