Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Numbers Everywhere

This has to be a familiar phenomenon for anyone who spends a good part of each day working with numbers. I'll often look at the clock and get a charge out of the fact that it is 12:34, or 12:21, or 3:57. Just as geeky, getting excited about a friend that lives on 169 W Center St. (I mean imagine if your address was a perfect square!) There is a famous anecdote of the mathematician Ramanujan (the self-taught prodigy mentioned in Good Will Hunting). He was visited by GH Hardy who rode in a taxi with the number 1729. Hardy asserted that it was a dull number. Ramanujan still laying in bed said, it was the smallest number expressible as the sum of two distinct pairs of perfect cubes (1729= 1^3+12^3=9^3+10^3). This is incredible to come up with off the top of the head. My geek powers extend nowhere near this far. But....I did I pick up my father in Boston last weekend and loved the fact his conference hotel room was 735. 7 divides 35, cool. And 7,3,5 are the first three odd primes. Just had to share. Enjoy the pick.

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