Showing posts from June, 2020

The Magic Numbers: 72 and 432

THE TIMES THEY ARE A’CHANGIN’ The man in the street does not know a star in the sky. The solstice he does not observe, the equinox he knows as little; and the whole bright calendar of the year is without a dial in his mind. (Emerson) I n The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy , we read about a race of hyper-intelligent, pan-dimensional beings who build a huge computer called Deep Thought to calculate the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. And the answer it comes up with is 42. [i]   Numerous theories have been advanced as to why the author, Douglas Adams, chose this number but Adams himself said that he chose it purely at random, because ‘it is a completely ordinary number, … in fact it’s the sort of number you could without any fear introduce to your parents.’ [ii] The authors of the Bible also seem to have favourite numbers but these are hardly arbitrary. The numbers 7 and 12 are almost certainly related to the seven ‘planets’