Society » Anomalous phenomena
Author`s name James Platt

Ukrainian professor memorizes pi to one million decimal places

I have the feeling that he is not actually human. There are no limits to what this guy can do. Within a few days Lvov professor Andrey Slusarczyk broke two world records in the categories “largest amount of numbers which a person is capable of memorizing” and “the quickest memorization within the shortest amount of time”! Now he is ready to carry out another cerebral feat. MK has organized a general rehearsal for the 33-year old genius.

“Are you ready, Andrey Tikhonovich?”

“Absolutely. You can read out any text to me, I’m leaving it to your discretion. To make it a fair experiment, read quickly, without stopping. But read articulately. And then I will reproduce it, down to the very last word, and I’ll say exactly how many letters there were in the extract.

“Surely you’re joking? How are you going to memorize and count at the same time?

“Don’t worry, I don't do it quite like that.”

I take a Schopenhauer tome which happens to be to hand. I try to find something quite unusual. The Metaphysics of Sexual Love, I think that will do nicely. Well, professor, hang in there.

Having taken a two-three second pause, Andrey Tikhonovich exclaims: “In the text there were 250 words and 1203 letters”. But the professor does not stop there. He asks me to name any letter, and he will tell me how many times it appeared in the extract. I choose the letter “zh”. And I hear the correct answer – 19. Then Andrey Tikhonovich repeats the whole text from memory. Without a single mistake. And then he even reads it backwards. How can we not believe in miracles?

Slusarczyk started to demonstrate his abilities in his youth. As a boy he finished school as a non-resident student when he was just 13.

“From childhood I have always liked to guess at people’s behaviour,” admits the professor. “And observe them. At 15 I completely mastered hypnosis. I used to carry out experiments on my friends…”

“Did you ever use this with selfish aims in mind?”

“Honestly? Yes, sometimes I behaved badly. I took a banknote, went into a shop and made them give me change as if they were giving change to a high value note. And I could come to agreements with anyone about anything. So girls loved me. But I quickly realized that I needed something more. So then I entered the Neurosurgery department of the 2nd Moscow Medical Institute.

The genius was essentially raised by the capital. It was here that he completed his postgraduate study and wrote his doctoral dissertation. At 32 he became a professor and a doctor of medical sciences.

By speciality the professor is a neurosurgeon, and every day, in the direct meaning of the word, digs out people’s brains. Yet when he performed his first operations, he experienced genuine joy.

“I had the impression that I was coming into contact with something extremely secret and cryptic,” recalls Slusarczyk. “But I am now convinced that the brain is nature’s greatest creation. And I think that a person’s soul is located in their brain, not their heart. It doesn’t contradict what I’m trying to prove. Our possibilities are unlimited.”

And after all he has proved it.

Andrey publicly demonstrated that he remembers “pi” to a million decimal places. That was a new world record. Andrey exceeded the previous record, held by 59-year old Tibi Akiri Haraguchi from Japan, who had memorized 83,431 figures for pi, by almost 100 times over. The record came at the second attempt. He says it took him 6 days to memorize a million figures from a book of 250 pages.

For his second record, Slusarczyk proved that he can memorize numbers quicker than anyone else in the world. In 2 minutes he can fix 5100 figures in his mind. Both achievements are entered in the Ukrainian Book of Records, and have already been declared for entry into the Guinness Book of Records.

The professor just wants one thing to come out of all these achievements – to interest people, and awaken a desire in them to develop their memory. Slusarczyk has even devised a method allowing people to learn to memorize large volumes of information.

“It could be numbers, texts, photographs, sounds. The process of memorization is taking place continuously in our brains. The task involves dragging out the necessary fragment of memory from the depths of our brain. When I need to remember something, I concentrate in a specific way: I close my eyes and visualize images – the pages of a text, a row of numbers, pictures. In my time I have been to demonstration operations carried out by master neurosurgeons. And I memorized each movement in such a way that I could reproduce them almost immediately.”

The latest task for Slusarczyk is to memorize not one, but five million figures. He is also planning to set two more records: solving mathematical problems quicker than a computer, and memorizing any text, simultaneously counting the number of letters in it, including vowels and consonants separately. This is nothing, Andrey has already demonstrated this to MK readers.

Eva Merkacheva for Moskovskiy Komsomolets

Translated by James Platt

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