May 28, 2010

Mnemonic- Nifty Memory Tricks

Mnemonic-
Main Entry: 1mne·mon·ic
Etymology: Greek mnēmonikos, from mnēmōn mindful, from mimnēskesthai to remember — more at mind
Date: 1753
1 : assisting or intended to assist memory; also : of or relating to mnemonics
2 : of or relating to memory

Some of the math geeks might be familiar with the mnemonic devices surrounding Pi. Wolfram Mathworld has a collection called Pi Worldplay that are kind of cool. For example:

"How I want a drink, alcoholic of course, after the heavy lectures involving quantum mechanics" The number of letters in each word relates to each of the first 15 digits in Pi (3.14159265358979).

Some other examples of mnemonics:


Order of taxonomy in biology:
(Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species)
Kids Prefer Cheese Over Fried Green Spinach.

Order of geological time periods:
(Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Recent)
Cows Often Sit Down Carefully. Perhaps Their Joints Creak?
Persistent Early Oiling Might Prevent Painful Rheumatism.

I had one that I learned in school for remembering the planets

"My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas." That translated to Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

Of course now the damn astronomers have screwed that up by saying that Pluto isn't a planet. Damn them, next thing you know they'll say that Goofy isn't a dog.

And who can forget Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. What a lovely way to remember the order of operations:
Parentheses
Exponents
Multiplication
Division
Addition
Subtraction

If you have any that you wish to share please feel free to add them in the comments.

2 comments:

Laurel Kornfeld said...

"Astronomers" have NOT decided that Pluto is not a planet. Only four percent of the IAU voted on this, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and like-minded scientists favor a broader planet definition that includes any non-self-luminous spheroidal body in orbit around a star. The spherical part is important because objects become spherical when they attain a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning they are large enough for their own gravity to pull them into a round shape. This is a characteristic of planets and not of shapeless asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects. Pluto meets this criterion and is therefore a planet. Under this definition, our solar system has 13 planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.

Laurel Kornfeld said...

"Astronomers" did not decide Pluto is no longer a planet. Only four percent of the IAU voted on this, and most are not planetary scientists. Their decision was immediately opposed in a formal petition by hundreds of professional astronomers led by Dr. Alan Stern, Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto. Stern and like-minded scientists favor a broader planet definition that includes any non-self-luminous spheroidal body in orbit around a star. The spherical part is important because objects become spherical when they attain a state known as hydrostatic equilibrium, meaning they are large enough for their own gravity to pull them into a round shape. This is a characteristic of planets and not of shapeless asteroids and Kuiper Belt Objects. Pluto meets this criterion and is therefore a planet. Under this definition, our solar system has 13 planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.