PiDay celebrations take place at several locations nationwide on March 14, since 3.14 are the first three digits of Pi, whose decimal spaces extend forever with no pattern. The festivities do not involve apple, cherry or pumpkin but are a celebration of mathematical achievement and studies.
Brookdale Community College has a connection “to infinity and beyond,” Buzz Lightyear’s catchphrase from the 1995 film Toy Story.
While an undergraduate at Lehigh University, David Fiore, an adjunct professor in the Math Department, earned his place in the Guinness Book of World Records when he became the first person to recite Pi to 10,000 digits. This year marks the 40th anniversary of Fiore’s record-setting moment. He will serve as a judge for a Pi Recitation contest with a subsequent record-holder in Princeton, N.J.
“It’s a gift and skill that has opened up a lot of doors for me professionally, but the pressure in preparing to set the record was intense,” recalled Fiore, who started teaching statistics and algebra at Brookdale in 2016.
“Whether they are planning to complete their undergraduate degrees elsewhere or just want to learn more about a topic, their enthusiasm, interaction and focus on attaining their goals is inspiring.”-David Fiore
As a teenager, Fiore did not know that his memorization abilities were anything out of the ordinary. He played trumpet and his friends asked him how he managed to play and follow the music without looking at the sheet music. At Lehigh, Fiore’s memorization skills underwent rigorous analysis and testing. That’s when he learned that he possessed an eidetic memory with extremely high capacity and accuracy for recalling images and figures after brief exposure periods.
While aiming to set the Pi recitation record as a freshman, another record holder emerged. Fiore postponed the quest for a few weeks and then claimed the top spot, holding it in the Guinness Book of World Record for three months.
Fiore’s abilities with numbers and statistics led to his career as an actuary in the property/casualty insurance industry. Fiore then tested the waters as an entrepreneur and founded several companies, earning awards including Entrepreneur of the Year, the INC 500 Award and an ACE100 Award. After selling his companies, Fiore carved out a new path in consulting and teaching.
“I thoroughly enjoy teaching at Brookdale,” said Fiore. “My students range from traditional college age to grandparents. Whether they are planning to complete their undergraduate degrees elsewhere or just want to learn more about a topic, their enthusiasm, interaction and focus on attaining their goals is inspiring.”
Fiore, who has taught at other institutions, said it’s obvious to the students here that the faculty and staff want them to succeed and are here to assist them in their professional development.