The paradox of interesting numbers

In mathematics, all numbers belong to sets. This set might be Real numbers, Imaginary numbers, or Rational numbers, and so on and so forth.

The set of Natural numbers (ℕ) is the set of numbers used for counting. For example, “This is my 49th blog post”. 49 is a natural number because I have counted all the way from 1 to 49. There is a slight argument as to where the set of natural numbers starts, though. Some argue it starts from 1, because you can’t count the absence of anything, nothing. The modern description of natural numbers starts from 0, though, so as to include every non-negative integer. 

One day, a man somewhere must have pondered upon a number being uninteresting. So let’s look at the natural numbers, starting from 1, the traditional way

is the first natural number

is the only even prime number

3 is the first odd prime number

4 is the first multiple of 2, other than itself

6 is the first perfect number

is the first natural number that cannot be expressed as the sum of three square numbers

is a fibonacci number

produces interesting multiples (12345679 * 9 = 111111111)

10 is the base number of the decimal system

11 is the first multiple digit number that is a palindrome

12 is the highest number that is only one syllable long

 

And so on and so forth. Every number has at least one fascinating quality. Numbers are incredible.

The paradox goes that apparently has nothing interesting about it, is 12407

We have to count through 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 all the way to 12407 before we find a number that has no apparent interesting feature about it.

But that’s interesting.

The number 12407, because it is not interesting, is interesting in itself. 

So, if 12,407 is interesting because it isn’t interesting, what’s the next uninteresting number?

It doesn’t matter what that number is, because the fact that it is the second lowest uninteresting number makes it interesting.

And this carries on, and on, and on.

This paradox should be kept in mind, to remind us that every number is special, and exciting, and beautiful.

 

 

Dale Chapman

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This entry was posted by dailysliceofpi.

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