Thursday, May 31, 2012

Musings on a perfect square

I'm celebrating my birthday today.  It's not a big, round number.  Actually, it's a square number.  A perfect square (I'm not saying which one).  It's also a lot larger number than I can wrap my head around, with regards to my age, but never mind that.  I'm thinking about all the ways we make numbers "important."  Multiples of 5 and 10, of course, are landmarks (we use a base-10 number system, so there's some sense in that).  We also have personally important numbers: I'm as old now as my Mom was when I was born.  As my Dad when I graduated from High School (NOT!).  As my aunt/uncle/cousin/grandparent was when he/she/they died.  Those numbers can give us a jolt.

But if my age is a perfect square, does that make me perfectly square?  And does the condition of squareness, in a person as opposed to a number, eliminate the very possibility of perfection?

f you like numbers, you can make nearly any year special.  This one's a perfect square.  This one's a prime.  This one's a factor of 196.  Make something up.  They're all special.  We only get so many.

I think I'll go have some chocolate.

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