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#s In Your Files

Martin Gardner, the great mathematics expositor, had some interesting traits. For example, he supposedly avoided technology (e.g. calculators) because it was associated with mindless "number crunching."

And, he loved numbers, relishing in their special properties. A friend of his claims that Gardner kept a file full of folders, one for each "interesting number."

An illustration from folder "407": it is the largest number expressible as the sum of its cubed digits, or 407=43+03+73. This is interesting.

In case you are curious, file "153" should state it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of its cubed digits. Only two "similar" numbers exist between 153 and 407.

So, why not do an experiment? Throughout the next year, build your own file of "interesting" numbers, where you define the criteria. Then, share with someone at the end of the year...to help build appreciation or better understanding for the interesting world of numbers.

Source: Hugh Kenner's "Sixty-One Diamonds for the Mind," BYTE, Dec. 1989, p. 444