How to remember the first 22,000 digits of pi

[Added November 1997]

I have read the book Born in a blue day by # Daniel Tammet. Daniel Tammet has a mild form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome and reports in this extraordinary book how he was able to memorise in a few weeks the first 22,000 digits of pi and then recall them in around 5 hours before a jury that checked the correctness of each digit. As with Luria’s mnemonist the secret seems to be synaesthesia. Daniel sees each digit as a distinct pattern : for example the 9 is blue and tall. To him a string of 10 random digits is like a landscape. In the book he makes some sample drawing of this peculiar landscape that he sees in the mind. What he has done is to build little by little a huge landscape in his mind representing all the 22,000 digits of pi.
In the day of the recall he had only to concentrate himself on the features
of this extraordinary mental painting extracting one by one all the pi digits.

The Mind of a Mnemonist

[Added July 1996]
One of the most fascinating stories about memory can be found in this book
written by Luria about the case of “S”.
Luria explains in the introduction how ‘S’ was sent to him because of
his amazing ability to recall things from the past.
‘S’ himself wasn’t aware of any peculiarities in himself and couldn’t
conceive of the idea that his memory differed in some way from other
peoples.Luria gave him words,letters and numbers to remember,sometimes
as many as 70,this was no problem for ‘S’ to recall.He could even
recall the lists in reverse order.When asked to recall the lists 16
years later there was still no hesitation from ‘S’.

Luria studied this subject for many years and found that he had problems
forgetting the material, not remembering it as happens for almost anyone.