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1. JAPAN TIMES - 2. BBC - 3. CBS

1. THE JAPAN TIMES: July 3, 2005

Chiba man recites pi to 83,431 decimal places

CHIBA (Kyodo) A 59-year-old man from Chiba Prefecture recited pi, or the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, from memory to 83,431 decimal places from Friday to Saturday to set an unofficial new world record.

Akira Haraguchi recites pi from memory on his way to establishing an unofficial world record Saturday morning.

Akira Haraguchi, a former corporate employee from Mobara who already holds a world record in pi recitation, started the new challenge shortly after noon Friday (01.07.05) and stopped at 83,431 decimal places early Saturday (02.07.05).

He equaled his previous best of 54,000 decimal places, a feat he achieved in September, at around 8 p.m. That performance is still under review and has not been verified yet.

Haraguchi, who is now a volunteer worker, said he was forced to stop at 54,000 decimal places in that attempt because of a time constraint in the facility where the recitation took place.

The current Guinness world record for reciting pi from memory is held by another Japanese who recited it to 42,195 decimal places while a college student. Haraguchi said he hopes his latest achievement makes it into the next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.


2. BBC NEWS Saturday, 2 July, 2005, 12:59 GMT

Japanese breaks pi memory record

A Japanese mental health counsellor has broken the world record for reciting pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, from memory.

Akira Haraguchi, 59, managed to recite the number's first 83,431 decimal places, almost doubling the previous record held by another Japanese.

He had to stop three hours into his recital after losing his place, and had to start from the beginning.

Pi is an infinite decimal whose numbers never repeat in a pattern.

Mr Haraguchi, from Chiba, east of Tokyo, took several hours reciting the numbers, finishing in the early hours of Saturday.

"I thank you all for your support," he told reporters and onlookers at the public hall in Tokyo.

He hopes to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records to replace his fellow countryman Hiroyuki Goto, who managed to recite 42,195 numbers as a 21-year-old student in 1995.

Mr Haraguchi had already recited the ratio up to about 54,000 digits last September, but was forced to drop the challenge when the facility hosting the event closed for the night.

So far, pi has been calculated to 1.24 trillion decimal places with the aid of a supercomputer.

Conventionally, 3.14159 is used as pi.

Pi is known for turning up in all sorts of scientific equations, including those describing the DNA double helix, a rainbow, ripples spreading from where a raindrop fell into water, waves, navigation and more.


3. CBS NEWS: Jul 3, 2005 12:49 pm US/Pacific

Man Said To Recite Pi To 83,431 Digits

(AP) TOKYO Japanese psychiatric counselor has recited pi to 83,431 decimal places from memory, breaking his own personal best of 54,000 digits and setting an unofficial world record, a media report said Saturday.

Akira Haraguchi, 59, had begun his attempt to recall the value of pi — a mathematical value that has an infinite number of decimal places — at a public hall in Chiba city, east of Tokyo, on Friday morning and appeared to give up by noon after only reaching 16,000 decimal places, the Tokyo Shimbun said on its Web site.

But a determined Haraguchi started anew and had broken his old record on Friday evening, about 11 hours after first sitting down to his task, the paper said.

He reached the 80,000-digit mark after midnight early Saturday, according to the paper, which had a photo showing Haraguchi with his eyes closed, his face contorted in concentration.

If verified and recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, Haraguchi's feat would beat his TOPown previous best — currently under review — of 54,000 digits. The official current record-holder, also Japanese, calculated pi from memory to 42,195 decimal places in 1995.

Pi, usually given as an abbreviated 3.14, is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. The number has fascinated and confounded mathematicians for centuries.

Aided by a supercomputer, a University of Tokyo mathematician set the world record for figuring out pi to 1.24 trillion decimal places in 2002.

Researchers say that calculating pi to more than about 1,000 decimal places has not much purpose in math or engineering, though mathematicians have done so to test the accuracy and limits of supercomputers.