Math Kabbalah

Kabbalah is a study of mystical aspects of Judaism, which deals with the inner, hidden meaning of the traditions and Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) stories. A meaning that will show the elegance and purpose of this universe, some larger goal of our existence. Looking at the mysterious and elegant patterns below, which I received via email from a friend, I wonder whether it is Math Kabbalah?


1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

More of these fascinating patterns and surprising stories about numbers could be found in Book of Numbers, by Tim Glynne-Jones. Here are few interesting facts from this book:

0 : Ancient greeks did not recognize 0 as a number. There is no year 0 in our Gregorian calendar.
1: One is the most frequently used number, so if you're going to fiddle your tax return, add a few more 1s to slip undetected.
2: It is believed that Mark Twain borrowed his pen name “twain” from this number. In the beginning of 19th century “twain” used to be a synonym for “two.”
3: This one is storytellers' favorite: three little pigs, three bears, three musketeers.
4: Over 500 films have been made with “four” in the title.
5: The number of oceans and circles on Olympic emblem (symbolizing five continents that accepted Olympic rules back in 1912: Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania)
6: People who concoct fraudulent data tend to start their made-up numbers with 6 most commonly.
7: Some believe in even years of bad luck when you break a mirror. Seven digits is the most the average person can remember.
8: A very popular number in the Imperial system of weights and measures.
9: Is the trickiest number. The digits of all multiples of 9 add up to 9 or a multiple of 9:
9x9=81, sum of digits is (8+1 = 9)
9 x 137 = 1,233 where sum of digits is (1+2+3+3=9)

I remember the pre-feature presentation at the Landmark Cinemas: “The language of cinema is universal,” echoed in many different languages. Perhaps the biggest power, mystery and magic of the language of math (like language of cinema or sport) is it's ability to transcend cultures, generations, religions and political regimes. Whenever you are right now, chances are you are using the Hindu-Arabic numeral brought to Europe by Arabs of North Africa. Whatever you do, you are applying the laws of logic defined by famous Greeks, Persian, French, Germans, Russians, or English mathematicians. And you can communicate and contribute using this ancient language of math anywhere on this planet.

25 comments:

  1. WNYC Radiolab: Numbers

    Captivating hour-long discussion about numbers: do we need them and why. How babies perceive them, whether it is natural to count by one, how one can use numbers to detect a fraud on a tax return, degrees of separation and more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Since I was a kid, I loved seeing the patterns created by math. I remember a teacher testing me once: add up all the numbers between 1 and 100. I did so the old-fashioned way.

    He then told me about some Greek or Roman or someone from long ago who had been asked to do this, and he answered really quickly because he thought about it differently:

    1+99=100
    2+98=100
    3+97=100

    And so on. So you have 1-49, each with their counterparts, totaling 4900. Now just add 100 and 50 and you have the answer of 5050.

    So I like what you're doing here. I think math can be made so much more interesting for kids.

    ReplyDelete
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