Memory Experts Attempt World Record to Bring Awareness to World Alzheimer’s Day


SAN DIEGO, CA (September 19, 2016) One in nine people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease, and it is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Wednesday is World Alzheimer’s Day, and two memory experts will attempt a world record to raise awareness about the disease.

“We want to inspire people to take care of their minds and remind everyone of the importance of early detection of the disease,” said Nelson Dellis, memory expert and four-time memory champion.

Dellis, along with record-setting memory athlete Brad Zupp, will attempt to break a record that has been called “The Everest of Memorization Tests.” It involves knowing not only the first 10,000 digits of Pi, but also the entire sequence in five-digit segments: 3. 14159 26535 8979… They will be given random segments and must be able to correctly recall the five digits both before and after any given segment.

The attempt will be held at Dart NeuroScience, a San Diego-based company which is focused onnew drugs, technologies, and therapies to improve brain function and help maintain cognitive vitality throughout life.

Spectators are welcome to watch the experts in person or via Facebook Live via the Extreme Memory Challenge page at 12 noon Pacific. Both Dellis and Zupp will be available afterwards to answer questions and offer memory tips.

“We also are asking the public to assists scientists by completing a short memory task online,” says Dellis. By answering a series of questions designed to test memory for faces and names, people all over the world are helping scientists to better understand the mechanisms underlying long term memory. To participate, visit: 

Interviews available with memory experts Nelson Dellis, Brad Zupp, and Dart NeuroScience scientists.




The Record Breakers

Nelson Dellis is a 4x USA Memory Champion, Alzheimer's activist, mountaineer, author (I Forgot Something), memory coach, and key-note speaker. He started training his memory just under a decade ago after his grandmother passed away from Alzheimer's disease and has since then broken numerous memory records and twice placed top-10 in the World Memory Championships


Brad Zupp is a motivational speaker, author (Unlock Your Amazing Memory) and memory improvement expert who shows people how to supercharge their memories to improve sales, productivity, and peace of mind. He is also a record-setting memory athlete, and in December was the co-captain of the silver medal winning Team USA at the Memory Championships in China.

The Challenge

The Matrix Memorization of Pi

  • A five digit number is randomly selected from the first 10,000 digits of Pi and called out.

  • The record breaker states the five digits before and after, and then the next block is called out.

  • This is repeated 50 times.

  • The record is for the time taken to recall the event, with no errors.

History of the record

  1. Philip Bond (U.K) 18 May 1994 // Time: 53 min

  2. Kevin Horsley (South Africa) 28 Aug 1999 // Time: 39 min

  3. Philip Bond (U.K) 28 June 2004 // Time: 29 min 51 sec

  4. Jan Harms (Germany) 27 July 2007 // Time: 20 min 30 sec

  5. Mats Bergsten (Sweden) 12 Feb 2008 // Time: 17 min 39 sec

  6. Kevin Horsley (South Africa) 14 March 2013 // Time: 16 min 38 sec

  7. Martin Nilsson (Sweden) // 5 October 2019 // Time: 14 min 33 sec (Current record)

Event Details // Run of Show


Where: Dart Neuroscience HQ, Auditorium stage
Dart NeuroScience, LLC
12278 Scripps Summit Drive
San Diego, CA 92131


When: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Noon PST

Broadcast live on Facebook via

12pm - Introduction with Brad and Nelson

  • Explanation of event

  • Reason for event (World Alzheimer’s Day)

  • Extreme Memory Challenge discussion

12:10pm - 12:27pm - Nelson 1st Attempt

  • 17 min time cap (need to beat 16m38s)

  • When finished, Nelson leaves, Brad enters

  • Attempt may finish earlier if a mistake is made, speeding up itinerary

12:30pm - 12:47pm - Brad 1st Attempt

  • 17 min time cap

12:50pm - 13:07pm - Nelson 2nd Attempt

13:10pm - 13:17pm - Brad 2nd Attempt

13:20pm - 13:37pm - Nelson final attempt

13:30pm - 13:47pm - Brad final attempt

13:50pm - 14:00pm - Close, Brad and Nelson answer questions and encourage participation in the Extreme Memory Challenge to help researchers learn about memory

Challenge Rules

Description: Layout of the numbers for the record

1. The number consists of the first 10,000 decimals of Pi after the decimal point. 
14159 26535 89793 23846 etc.

2. The digits are printed in blocks of five digits, ten blocks in a line.
14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510 58209 74944...

3. The record is for the time taken to recall the event. It is worth bearing in mind that the number of ‘collisions’ (the same set of five digits occurring two or more times) rises very rapidly past 10,000. So that is the reason for keeping the number of digits at 10,000. 

On the day of the record

4. Each judge is given sheets with the digits of Pi printed clearly on them.

5. A judge will call out a RANDOMLY chosen block of five digits.

The five digit blocks must be randomly taken from any page. The number must not follow on each other from each of the thousand groups. It must be chosen randomly.
Group one – the 4000th digit area, Group two – 7000th area, Group three – 2000th area etc.

6. The record breaker then recalls the block of five digits before and the block after.
83279 and 41971

It does not matter which block is recalled first HOWEVER the order must be clear. The default is that the first block is recalled first.

Saying "83279 and 41971" is correct 

Saying "41971 is the second block and 83279 is the first block" is also correct as the order is identified.

7. The record attempt consists of 50 blocks called out by the judges (and hence a total of 100 blocks recalled for a total of 500 recalled digits). NO ERRORS may be made in the recall. Here a clarification is needed:

The record breaker may correct themselves when recalling, but at the end of each recalled set of blocks the record breaker should say "Next" (meaning next block from the judges). At that point the answer cannot be changed. No hinting or prodding from judges should be allowed of course.

Judge: "26535"
Record breaker: “14159 and 89763, no that is 89793. Next”
Judge: "Correct. 76397"
Record breaker: “55418 comes first then 92934, no 92933. Next”
Judge: “Correct. 73455" etc.

This just avoids failing to break a record because one says six when one means seven (it does happen when recalling 500 digits). This way a "verbal typo" can be corrected.

8. The judges can say "Correct" at the end of each correct set of blocks recalled when the digits are correct and the record breaker has said "Next", and hence committed themselves.

9. In the event that a block occurs multiple times (which happens occasionally) then all of the occurrences must be used by the record breaker. A list of all such repetitions should be given to the judges beforehand so that they can quickly check them all. It should be mentioned that this happens very infrequently and is an unlikely event when the blocks are chosen at random.

10. Randomness:

Independent judges pick digits from a copy of the sheets. Each sheet is to have 2000 or 1000 digits, and be used equally often.

With 10,000 decimals (2000 digits per page) there are 5 sheets and 50 attempts, so each sheet is to be used 10 times. Or, 10 sheets (1000 digits per page) and 50 attempts, so each sheet is used 5 times. This ensures that the record breaker has learnt all sheets equally well, and that the judges are not picking from only a few sheets.

11. The record is for the time taken to complete the event. The event is continuous. The clock does not stop. 

12. If a mistake is made, the attempt is over and the record breaker must start all over again (reset the timer, start from 0, new set of chosen numbers). He will only get 3 max attempts for the day.

13. The record breaker may say “pass” and continue on to the next number, but he MUST come back and complete that passed number in order for his attempt to count. In other words, the 50 chosen numbers are pre-set and can not be changed. He must get all of those correct in the record-breaking time to break the record. So whatever he “passes” must be answered eventually, but he can save them for last to try and save time.

Verification Rules

  1. The event must be filmed. The footage must be clearly visible and of good quality. The entire attempt must be filmed and the camera must be focused on the attempt at all times, and preferably be static. A loud start and finish signal must also be recognized on the Footage.

  2. Three to five independent people of standing in the community must judge the event. Each judge must also sign a witness statement confirming the record.

  3. The event must take place in a public place or in a venue open for public inspection.

  4. The event is continuous. The clock does not stop.

  5. Two experienced timekeepers must time the attempt with stopwatches accurate to 0.01 seconds e.g. 16:38.35min.

The First 10,000 Digits of Pi