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You Know You’re Working Too Hard When…

October 31, 2009

…You’re listening to the Pixies song, Monkey Gone To Heaven, and you wonder to yourself:

does God get the better deal, or does the devil, because according to the song, the devil is six (which is a perfect number) while God is seven (which is the third prime number).

My number theory lecturer would be proud of me.

On a slightly related note, during my last number theory lecture, the lecturer (great guy, but a bit of a grumpy bastard) was talking about perfect numbers. During the course of the lecture, he said: “two to the power of eleven, minus 1, is 2047. Is it a prime number?”
Without hesitating, my friend called out, “no – it’s 23 times 18 89.”*
I should point out that, even for a maths student, this is not something that you just know. So, after the lecture, I asked said friend how the hell he’d known the answer.

“Oh,” he shrugged. “There’s this great graffiti in the mens’ toilets on G floor – it said, “2047=23 x 18 89: remember this; one day it could save your life“.”


*It has rightly been pointed out to me that I am a fool, and that I’d got my numbers wrong in the original post. Yay degree level maths!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2009 7:07 pm

    But 2047 isn’t divisible by 3.

  2. November 2, 2009 11:26 pm

    No, no it isn’t. It turns out I misread my own handwriting – it should have read “23 x 89”. I feel clever!

  3. November 3, 2009 1:34 am

    No worries, I was just thinking “Why would the professor even bother to ask if it was prime if it was divisible by 3?”

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