Archive for May 27th, 2010

3 may be a Magic Number, but 111 is a Magic Constant …

by Katie Bowell, Curator of Cultural Interpretation


… a magic constant of a 3×3 magic square of distinct primes, that is.

Don’t know what a magic constant or a magic square is? Neither did I! It turns out a magic square is an arrangement of numbers in a square where the numbers in each row, each column, and each diagonal all add up to the same number, known as the magic constant. Like this one:


Both those little tidbits, and more, I just learned after browsing What’s Special About This Number?, a site that lists every number from 0-9999 and tells us…what makes each number special. For example, I’m 27, which is the largest number that is the sum of the digits of its cube. I don’t normally say this about math sites (actually, I’ve never said this about a math site), but looking at numbers this way definitely puts the “fun” in “function.”

Did you know that some numbers are narcissistic? I wonder if that comes from the stress of trying to be perfect. And some numbers are part of an amicable pair, while others are just happy to be happy! Although if they come across a vampire number, they might not be quite so happy anymore.

One comment, though. Looking through the list, I saw numbers named after Smith, Keith, Lucas, Wilson, Carol, Leyland, and Ruth-Aaron. Where’s the Katie number? Is this something I have to discover myself, or can someone else name it after me? If it’s the latter, any mathematicians out there are welcome to contact me at the Museum …

May 2010

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