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Meet B.C. boy Lucas Mason Yao, who has memorized 2,030 digits of pi

The feat that he achieved last year took 23 minutes to recite and earned him 115th place in the world

Nine-year-old Lucas Mason Yao loves the Vancouver Canucks, his pet bunny Chomp and pi, the mathematical constant that’s celebrated every March 14 around the world.

Yao, from Pitt Meadows, B.C., has memorized the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter to 2,030 digits, far beyond the 3.14 that’s close enough for most people.

The feat that he achieved last year took 23 minutes to recite and earned him 115th place on the world ranking for pi memorization, a list that’s topped by a man from India who has memorized it to more than 70,000 digits.

Yao said he has a good memory and has been fascinated by numbers since he was a baby.

“I saw pi one day and I was like, I wanted to learn it,” said Yao.

His mother Cindy Liu said Lucas started memorizing pi in 2020 as a way to beat boredom during the pandemic, and he went from 1,000 digits to 2,000 in just a few days last year.

“He’s always looking for challenges and fun stuff to do,” said Liu. “He surprises me all the time.”

They watched videos of people doing the pi challenge on YouTube and when her son tried it out, he loved it, she said.

“So, afterward, he just kept going and he asked me about it too, ‘oh, do we want to go to 100, 500, or 1,000,’ and he just gets excited every time we try new digits,” she added.

Yao, who is the fifth-ranked Canadian on the world pi memorization list, said he and his family will be celebrating Pi Day with a pie that has a pi symbol cut into the crust.

Liu said her son’s ability to recite pi to more than 2,000 digits isn’t his full potential and she believes he’ll break his own record in the future.

But Liu said she also doesn’t want him to spend too much time in the pi challenge.

The boy is also an accomplished pianist, playing at Carnegie Hall in New York when he was five after winning the Crescendo International Music Competition.

Liu said her son has excelled at numbers ever since he was a baby.

He started showing curiosity for numbers when he was only seven days old, and he could count to 100 at two, she said.

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