Famous People, Characters & Pop Culture Icons with Date & Number Associations | 2-Digit PAO Memory System (U.S.)

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1 13 May, 2017 - 14:26
Joined: 1 year 7 months ago

Famous People, Characters & Pop Culture Icons with Date & Number Associations | 2-Digit PAO Memory System (U.S.)

The following link shows the latest version of this system:

2017-07-20 Update

Almost there! Over the past few weeks I've added in the 52 playing cards, based on associations for the face cards and based on available numbers for the rest of them, in Bridge suit order: 1s = Clubs, 2s = Diamonds, 8s = Hearts, 9s = Spades.

I finally relented on the 20th century requirement for this system. I was having trouble finding anything suitably iconic for 16 and 76 and Abraham Lincoln and George Washington fit so well there. 15 could be Martin Luther King for his birthday, yet he fits very well at 65 and Julius Caesar's iconic 'Ides of March' fits nicely at 15. 17 is a tough number too but it's Ben Franklin's birthday. I didn't want to use too many old-time characters for the aforementioned reason of there being no recorded audio or video of their actual person. Yet a few like these are still so iconic in our present day that there are some very satisfactory portrayals of them in modern films.

Again, any constructive feedback on this welcome. Thanks.

2017-06-08 Update

Hey folks I'd really appreciate if some of you super-intelligent mnemonists reviewed my system for accuracy and logic. I'm getting ready to call it finished soon but some outside input could really help.

Some of you would be much more cultured than me on movies, video games or history, so if you see a number match that would make more sense or an action or object that would be more fitting I'll be glad for your input!

2017-06-03 Update

I'd like your input! I've made lots of changes to this system and I think it's getting closer to completion. But some more eyes on this list should hopefully avoid the "Duh I wish I'd thought of that before!" syndrome later down the road.

Again, this system is intended to be as intuitive as possible for the new learner who has no prior knowledge of memory systems. No number-letter conversion systems need to be learned in advance, most of the people/characters will already be recognizable (all are famous), and there should be logical reasoning for every number association.

All of these people/characters lived in the 20th century, which means there is usually video footage of them, but I relaxed this latter requirement to include such icons as Houdini and the Wright Brothers.

So if you think there's a more logical person assignment to a number, or a better action or object, I'll appreciate your feedback! Thanks

2017-05-13 Original Post

I'm starting over. Over a year ago I created a 00-99 PAO memory system mostly based on the Dominic number-letter conversion. It's been a good system, but now I want to make a better one.

The goal I have in mind is a PAO memory system for numbers (which could also double as a system for playing cards) that is a complete, ready-to-use package for new learners.

I see great potential in teachers using such a system in the classroom to help students remember important dates and numbers. But whether it's students in a classroom or a new memory hobbyist, time is precious, and I believe a new learner's time could be much better spent in skipping the system-build phase and jumping directly to memorizing and using the system itself.

So I'm saying enough with the Major System versus Dominic system arguments, let's make a system that doesn't use either--which yes has been done by others--but in this case will only be composed of famous, iconic, or otherwise outstanding characters who lived in the 20th century. Thus the new user will either already have some mental association to that character, or will benefit by learning about such an iconic character.

Characters can be assigned to numbers based on a number that they or their action/object are associated with (e.g. Michael Jordan Jersey #23, George Orwell's book "1984") or important days and years (e.g. Martin Luther King's birthday January 15, Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd President elected in 1932).

To make the system appropriate for all ages, I'm omitting any characters that are highly controversial/polarizing (e.g. Adolf Hitler) and any content that would be rated 'mature'.

Now, why only go as far back as the 20th century? Video. When there's video footage of a character, you can see their mannerisms and you can hear their voice. George Washington and Alexander the Great are very famous, but no one knows for sure how they rode their horse or gave a speech. I was surprised to find real video footage of people like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. [...]

I've tried to include a wide variety of characters who were iconic or 'best' in their field, and more female characters when there was opportunity to do so, though the gender gap is still going to be considerable.

Finally, I put "U.S. Edition" in the thread title because I am creating this system from the perspective of someone born and raised in the United States. So for our friends in other countries, this list may not be so "ready-to-use", but maybe parts of it will still be useful. [...]

11 June, 2017 - 09:47
Joined: 1 year 7 months ago


14 May, 2017 - 13:34
Joined: 6 months 1 week ago

The problem is if you aren't using a phonetic system or similar the system will be much more difficult to learn. Since you are targeting this on learners that seems like a big issue. Yes, it has been done without such a system, especially with catagories, but the biggest drawbacks to not using a phonetic system is in learning which is contradictory to your goals.

28 August, 2017 - 07:28
Joined: 1 year 7 months ago

Thanks for your reply. There are pros and cons to each approach, but for me this method is more intuitive. No matter what method you use there is going to be some time involved in learning the number associations.

The list I'm presenting here ends up doubling as a list of trivia, so at the end of the system memorization process you not only have the number associations but you've also gained relevant historical information.

In my former list based on letter-number conversion, I had Santa Claus as number 80. But Santa is already widely associated with the number 25 because of Christmas Day, so I find this more intuitive. Neil Armstrong as number 91 confused me for a long time, because in my mind he's the man of 1969 (or could have been 11 for Apollo) [Edit: Now using Neil as number 11]. Many of the other numbers I didn't know at first, but very quickly my mind accepts them because of their logical place in the historical timeline.

Learn memory techniques for free! Just click the "Sign up" button below to create an account and we'll send you an email with some tips on how to get started.

Related content: