Although you may have terrible memories of high school algebra it’s undeniable that math plays a crucial role in our everyday lives. But even for those of you whose stomachs turn at the very thought of doing arithmetic, fear not, there won’t be any equations today…well, not too many at least. While some of the numbers in this list are very relevant to science and other academic pursuits, others are just famous for being considered lucky (or unlucky). These are 25 famous numbers and why they are important.
Pi. One of the single most important numbers in history, its applications include its uses in world-wide statistics, predicting weather patterns, and in other applications that require massive computational power. The most recognized mathematical constant in the world, it is interesting to note that the π (piwas) is the 16th letter in both the Greek and English alphabet.
EULER'S CONSTANT. Not to be confused with Euler’s number, the Euler’s constant, which is sometimes called the Euler-Mascheroni constant, has significant application especially in number theory and other engineering-related formulas and calculations.
Besides being interpreted as the number of the beast in the Bible, it has several other significant meanings to history buffs and conspiracy theorists alike, one of which was the duration of the Assyrian empire before it was conquered by Babylon.
Also known as zilch or nada, zero is known for being the number that enabled the denominational number system and became the basis for modern mathematics. Also known as a ‘neutral’ element, it can be added to any number but will not change the value of the sum; and is known to be an ‘absorbing’ element in multiplication as everything that you multiply to it will still result in zero.
The luckiest number, seven, has been known for the days of the week, the deadly sins, continents, colours of the rainbow, musical notes, 7-year itch, 7th heaven and so much more. In Europe, people believed that the 7th son/daughter of the 7th son/daughter will have magical powers; while Latin Americans believed that they will become werewolves or lobison. It is also a part of the ‘blue-seven’ phenomenon where 7 is the frequent choice of people asked to name their favourite number while their favourite colour is blue.
According to Pythagoras, the number 5 was the perfect number of human microcosm. Aristotle also added a 5th element to the 4 elements of ancient Greek studies and called it Ether, which has become the basis for most of the spiritual practices of the ancient alchemists. It also has some spiritual significance and symbolism in other cultures, including the Chinese and Japanese Buddhists. This number has also become the basis of discordianism, a jocular pseudo religion popularized by Robert Anton Wilson, which believed that everything that happens in the universe has a connection to 5 or a multiple of five.
EULER'S NUMBER. Like pi, the Euler is an irrational, non-repeating and non-terminating number, which denotes the natural limit for many processes and applications in nature, science and mathematics, especially in economics. Named after Leonhard Euler, it was actually discovered by his student Bernouli who went to a loan shark to borrow money. Then, while deciding on the rate of compound of interest that would be applied he came up with the approximate number that we now know as e, which functioned as a limiting factor.
A mathematical constant used to (are you ready for this?) "describe the dynamic systems of successive differences with period-doubling using the bifurcation diagram before they enter the chaotic regime." What a mouthful! Mitchell Feigenbaum discovered it in 1975 using a standard issue calculator. He also proved that the mathematical constant 4.6692 was present in a number of mathematical functions related to chaos.
The digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes, this number was the inspiration for the search engine Google. It also resulted in the word Googolplex or 10^Googol, which became the namesake of Google’s offices.
Whether it is in academic performance, sports or contests, when preceded by the hash sign, this almost universally denotes superiority over and above the rest.
Also known as the Golden Mean or the Golden Section, this is an expression that describes universally perfect proportions in sciences such as architecture and anatomy. Approximately 1.6180339887, two quantities are considered to be in perfect golden ratio if the ratio of those two quantities and the larger one is the same as the ratio between the larger and smaller one.
The number of perfection, it has been associated with infinity and the ancient Egyptians believed that it is the number of balance and of the cosmic order. For the Japanese it means multiplicity while the Pythagoreans believed that it is a symbol of love and friendship, so they called it the Great ‘Tetrachtys.’
43252003274489856000. If you are fond of playing with Rubik’s cubes, this is the total number of configurations that you can do with this 3D combination puzzle that was invented by Erno Rubik in 1974.
In most countries, this is the most anticipated age for young men and women as this is considered to be the age of majority, wherein a collection of laws bestows them the status of adulthood. In some laws and jurisdictions, those who are 18 can apply for drivers licenses and are given some rights restricted to minors, though it varies in certain areas and countries.
For young ladies in Latin America, their 15th birthday is the most-anticipated of all as it marks their transition from childhood to young womanhood. Similar to the bar or bat mitzvah, debut, or cotillion, this requires elaborate preparations. Though the program differs in Latin American countries and in communities with Latin Americans, it usually starts with a Thanksgiving mass and is full of symbolisms like the tiara, necklace, etc. and ceremonies like the 15 candles.
The 10:10 default position of clocks and watches may have been adopted because it is symmetric and looks aesthetically pleasing, as seen through the Seth Thomas clock catalog illustrations from 1879 to 1940. Though other symmetric hand positions such as 8:20, 8:18 and 2:50 have also been used; the 10:10 position has been retained both for aesthetic and customary purposes. Some have also suggested that the 10:10 position is used because it resembles a smile.
The reverse of Jordan’s 23, the No. 32 is the jersey worn by popular athletes such as the Hall of Fame inductee Jim Brown, the former National Football League all-time leading rusher; and Ervin “Magic” Johnson, five-time NBA champion. This is also the jersey number of Angeles Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax and former Heisman Trophy winner, OJ Simpson.
If you have spent a lot of time on the internet, you will surely notice a great number of top 10 posts. It seems that there is a list of top 10 for everything from losing weight to issues relating to history. Moreover, a good number of counting systems are base on 10 so it’s hard to escape the importance this number plays in our everyday lives.
The 1980s saw a lot of one-hit wonders and the Tommy Tutone song “Jenny 8675309” has driven phone companies and their customers’ nuts for a number of years. According to the song, a promiscuous girl named Jenny will take your call if you dial this number. Besides the number of complaints of prank calls raised for a number of years by customers that were given the number, it also became the most ‘expensive’ phone number to date when it was sold on eBay for $2,025 by a New Jersey DJ who bought the number in 2004. Instead of boosting his music business, Spencer Potter received more than 30 calls a day from fans of the song. His ad reads: “Selling my DJ Company with the most famous number in history – 867-5309.”
Considered a bad omen due to the popularity of Friday the 13th, 13 black cats, or 1313 Mockingbird Lane; there is still an air of mystery surrounding this number. Even in modern times, you can easily note that there is no 13th floor in some high-rise buildings, while airplane flight numbers have been reassigned to avoid association with the number 13. It also has a religious significance for Christians when Jesus declared in the Last Supper that one of the 13 disciples will betray
An emergency telephone number in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) it was established in 1968 and provides access to police, ambulance, and fire services. In Canada alone, 12 million calls were made to 911. It can also refer to the September 11, 2001 or 911 terrorist attacks.
In sports, the No. 12 is considered to be the most popular in the history of the NBA with 327 athletes donning this number. It is also popular in the NFL, as it was worn by three-time Super Bowl winner and New England Patriot quarterback, Tom Brady, as well as other Hall of Famers such as Jim Kelly, Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Joe Namath, and Ken Stabler.
Popularized in the 1990s by the six-time NBA champion, five-time NBA MVP, and Chicago Bulls shooting guard and 1985 Rookie of the Year, Michael Jordan; this number has resulted in numerous sales of merchandise from jerseys to the very popular Air Jordan shoes with the number 23. This number is also worn by the NBA’s two-time Most Valuable Player, Lebron James and is on the uniform of the English football Hall of Fame inductee and soccer icon, David Beckham from the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Before the advent of smartphones, men had no choice but to ask for a girl’s land line number. If her number started with 555, they would surely be disappointed as there is no existing number that starts with 555. This became popular over the past few decades as it has been used in thousands of movies and novels as well.
Besides being the number of days you have to wait until your next birthday, 365 has significance in numerous religions, for example in Judaism it is the number of negative commandments. Due to its position as the commonly accepted number of days in a year it plays a significant role in computer systems, business, and financial products.