Fun Facts About Numbers

Boring but important facts:

Just to make sure everyone is on the same page, let me tell you what the dictionary definition of a number is:
“A number is a mathematical object used to count, label, and measure.”

We've all used numbers, but do we really know where they come from?
We've all used numbers, but do we really know where they come from?

The numerical digits we use today, such as 1, 2 and 3, are based on the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed over 1000 years ago. There are other systems, but most of the world uses this one.

Don’t confuse this with numbering systems, which are a systematic method for representing numbers using a particular set of symbols. Some examples are decimal, binary and hexadecimal.

Fun and interesting facts starting from zero:

0 - Zero was not even considered a number for the Ancient Greeks. However, they also questioned whether 1 was a number.

1 – The number 1 is NOT prime number, as many people believe. It is also the exact amount of butler schools in the US and the number of public telephones in Kabul.

Square root 2 (or 1.41...) - … is also called Pythagoras' constant. Paper sizes (A4, A3 etc.) are all based on a single aspect ratio of the square root of two.

1.618… - The golden ratio between two quantities (such as lengths) often appears in nature (tree branches, uncurling ferns, pine cone arrangements, etc.) and has been used throughout history to create aesthetically pleasing designs and art works such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. It’s even used in analysing modern financial markets.

4 - The four-second rule is the amount of time that internet user will wait for a page to load before leaving and going to another site. And a dollar bill can be double folded (forward and backwards) 4x10times before it will tear.

5 – The number of baseball gloves that can be made from one cow.

9 - A paper cannot be folded more than 9 times. Try it!

13 - One of the most widespread superstitious beliefs is that the number 13 is unlucky. So common is this that many hotels and office buildings in Europe and the United States do not have a room number 13 or a floor 13.

We can all get a bit superstitious on Friday the 13th.
We can all get a bit superstitious on Friday the 13th.

 


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It has long been a matter of etiquette in France to avoid having exactly 13 guests at a dinner or party. Napoleon wouldn't allow a dinner to begin if there were 13 guests at the table. There is a custom of the "quartrozieme", a professional guest who can be called on short notice to avoid having only 13 people dining at a dinner party.

A specific fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.

42 -  The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Well, according to the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (written by Douglas Adams) anyway.

1000… - The name of the popular search engine ‘Google’ came from a misspelling of the word ‘googol’, which is a very large number (the number one followed by one hundred zeros to be exact).

1000…even more zeroes- A ‘googolplex’ is the number 1 followed by a googol zeros, a number so ridiculously big that it can’t be written because there literally isn't enough room in the entire universe to fit it in!

Notable achievements regarding numbers

- Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

- Chuck Norris counted to infinity… twice (if you don’t get the joke I suggest to visit www.chucknorrisfacts.com immediately)

- Cartoon character Bugs Bunny once correctly calculated 1297 times 142 in his head and said, "If there's one thing we wabbits can do, it's multiply."

This is it for now about numbers. If you have any other interesting or fun facts about numbers please share it with us on our Facebook page!

You can learn the different ways to say and use the word "zero" in English by reading our blog post: How to Say Zero in English.

 

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