December 3, 2022
Memory Palace: 17-year-old student breaks a record in memorization - 10/06/2022

Memory Palace: 17-year-old student breaks a record in memorization – 10/06/2022

In the eighteenth century, the Swiss Leonhard Paul Euler devoted his life to mathematical studies, from calculus to important concepts of modern mathematics. Part of this effort resulted And thea number like π (pi), has an almost infinite decimal sequence.

The Euler number is used in various fields: economics, physics, astronomy, biology, engineering, but not only. With this sequence of decimals, a 17-year-old student from Belo Horizonte broke the world record for memorization and entered the Guinness Book of Records.

In addition to hosting the learning of high school subjects and technical courses, the Campus 1 rooms at Cefet-MG (Federal Center for Technological Education of Minas Gerais), in West Belo Horizonte, hosted the achievement of Mike Anthony Silva: for 2 hours 20 minutes, electrical engineering student No. Euler transferred to 10,122 decimal places. Previously, the record was held by an Indian who managed to advertise 4,500 homes.

The achievement happened in February, but Mike’s preparations were before. In 2021, he decided that he would apply conservation techniques to try and set a new record. The methodology emerged as the student searched for ways to perform better in the OBMEP (Olympiad of Mathematics at the Brazilian Public School): for mental calculations, which are done without a calculator, good memory is most welcome.

The effort brought the student a gold medal as well as his interest in memorization techniques known as “memory palace”, “PAO” and “master system”: using them, Mike learned 3,141 numbers from with meAnd the name of all the countries of the world, the Brazilian states and the elements of the periodic table.

To remember all the elements, he works with blocks of fourteen units. In preparation for the record, he trained to memorize 1008 numbers for nine consecutive days and 1050 numbers on the tenth, which corresponds to 72 and 75 combinations of numbers respectively.

Mike says that in order to achieve a world record, you have to register in Guinness and wait for instructions to arrive. If numbers are memorized, the participant must be blindfolded, and the attempt must be recorded and photographed.

The maximum time between one digit and the last one cannot exceed 15 seconds and errors may occur, but if there is no correction before the next digit, the attempt will be void.

This was not the case: the sequence was correct and the time gaps between numbers were respected.

Photo: Marcos Desimone/UOL

philosophical mathematics

Mental arithmetic and mental memorization have already brought good achievements to Mike, but his greatest interest lies in another aspect of mathematics. In fact, the student chose to memorize Euler’s number because he considers it one of the “most beautiful formulas” in mathematics and is very interested in the philosophy behind additions, divisions, and decimals.

“Mathematics is divided into a pure and applied part. I really like the pure part; the applied part includes more applications of theories in everyday life, in some machine or industry. The pure part is more about developing the theories themselves, and studying philosophy,” he says he is also interested in reading topics Like psychology and meditation.

This inclination led him to decide which field he wanted to pursue: a little less than a year after completing high school and technical education, he had already decided that he would try to study mathematics at an American university – his desire was to pursue a career as a researcher.

Mike Anthony, 17, a student from the state of Minas Gerais, entered the Guinness Book of Records as the world record holder - Marcus Desimoni / UOL - Marcos Desimone / UOL
Photo: Marcos Desimone/UOL

The goal comes with a routine that requires a balance between study, leisure and rest. A resident of Betim, in the BH metropolitan area, Mike spends an average of 3 hours per day commuting by bus between home and school, where classes are held full time.

Mobile traffic is used, but not TikTok or any other social network: One of your allies for reviewing topics is Anki, an app that allows you to create cards with the content you learned in class. By focusing, Mike also highlights the importance of rest (mental and physiological). Faced with the heavy educational burden, he notices his classmates who usually stay up all night to study and try his best not to do the same.

“I tried to sleep less in order to study more, but I was too tired in class the next day. If I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t pay attention in class so well that I can hear what the teacher says, save while he is talking and save until you reach Home “.

Mike Anthony, 17 years old, student from Minas Gerais, entered the Guinness Book of Records as the world record holder - Marcos Desimone / UOL - Marcos Desimone / UOL
Photo: Marcos Desimone/UOL

With classes that can last from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., it is the norm to make constant reviews that help you have a more balanced relationship with your studies: recapitulation of the taught content, facilitated by technology, occurs daily, but the most intensive studies are booked. for weekends.

“I don’t usually study every day. Either you study every day and sleep a little, or you pay attention in class and sleep well and not study.” Sleep helps focus and memory.

Aside from his world record and impressive memory, Mike is confused with other students of his age: he’s a fan of indie rock (Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys and Easy Life are some of his favorite bands), has a YouTube channel and has adapted without many Difficulties for face-to-face teaching and new colleagues – when he joined Cefet, during the pandemic, the classes were still far away.

Mike Anthony, 17 years old, student from Minas Gerais, entered the Guinness Book of Records as the world record holder - Marcos Desimone / UOL - Marcos Desimone / UOL
Photo: Marcos Desimone/UOL

He was glad that he got into the Guinness Book, but did not celebrate anything special: he says that when they heard about his achievement, other students and teachers reacted positively and their parents celebrated, but nothing unusual.

For now, Mike does not intend to break his own record, but focus on proficiency exams in English – a language he teaches himself – which could facilitate his entry into a university outside Brazil.

memory record with meHowever, this is not something the student will reject in the long run. “Maybe I will, but this is a lifelong thing. After or during college. It’s something that can take two or three years of training. It takes a lot.”