Blake makes the point - 1304 times

Nayland College student second-best in NZ

Last updated 13:00 18/08/2014
Blake
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
TOP OF HIS GAME: Blake Winstanley competes in the pi competition as part of Maths Week.

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Nayland College student Blake Winstanley is the second-best pi memoriser in New Zealand.

The Year 12 student successfully recited the mathematical constant "pi" to 1304 decimal places from memory. The feat is yet to be officially verified but Winstanley expected it would go ahead without problems.

"I feel great, it's a bit surreal still."

Pi equals the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, and is widely used in mathematical calculations.

It is approximately equal to 3.141592, but mathematicians and computer scientists can calculate the value of pi to millions of places.

The current world record for pi memorisation is held by Chao Lu, of China, who recited 67,890 in 2005.

Winstanley, who is 17, said his secret was "endless repetition". He had been building his knowledge of pi since February last year, but "really stacking on the numbers" since this February. Pi appealed to him because he enjoyed numbers and maths.

Former Nayland College student Nicholas Reid returned to the school during its Maths Week pi-memorising contest for the last two years to see whether anyone can break his record.

He remembered 652 digits of pi for four years running.

Reid said Winstanley had told him he could remember 1140 digits of pi in practice, but remained confident in his record.

"The thing is, what happens in practice may not happen on stage."

Teacher Gaye Bloomfield said other students participated in the competition by earning points for their school houses. If they could write down pi correctly to 20 decimal places, their house won a point.

The "heavy hitters" went up on stage to write down their numbers on a whiteboard next to Blake, and the teachers also had a shot.

Bloomfield said head of science Hamish McLellan had been looking like a strong contender with 245 decimal places memorised.

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- The Nelson Mail

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