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A Visit to the Zoo of Numbers

Three years ago I recommended Archimedes Laboratory, an Italian website filled with awesome ideas. I still recommend it, but want to focus on one special aspect of the web site that has proven useful to me.

The special section Zoo of Numbers (or Numberpedia) deserves your exploration. Their goal in creating this exhibition is to "show that each number is unique and has its own beauty...." In turn, they have searched through tons of facts pertaining to "the magical world of numbers, covering a range of different topics including mathematics, history, phylosophy, psychology, symbolism, etymology, language, and/or ethnology..."

To illustrate, some things you can learn are:

  • The existance of NaN's
  • By Benford's Law, the digit 1 occurs with probability of about 30% in tables of data such a day's stock quotations, tournament tennis scores, town populations, etc.
  • 4 is the smallest "honest" number, which are numbers n whose English name involves n-letters (i.e. "four" vs. 4)
  • 206 is the smallest number whose English name contains all five vowels exactly once (twO hUndrEd And sIx), plus 206 = 13 + 23 + 23 + 43 + 53
This is only a sample...you could (i.e will) spend hours visiting this zoo.

Also, I must confess that I like the name "Zoo of Numbers" over "Numberpedia," as it it seems to capture the way we feel about the various special types of numbers. So, make a visit to the Zoo now and "capture" some of the spirit hidden there...