Thursday, April 30, 2009

281. Creation and perfect numbers

In math, a "perfect number" is a number that is equal to the sum of its proper factors. (A proper factor of a number is any positive integer that divides evenly into that number besides itself.) The proper factors of 6 are 1, 2, 3 and 1+2+3=6, so 6 is a perfect number. If you add up the proper factors of 28 you get 1+2+4+7+14=28, so 28 is a perfect number.

The first eight perfect numbers are 6; 28; 496; 8,128; 33,550,336; 8,589,869,056; 13,743,8691,328; 2,305,843,008,139,952,128. As you can tell, they are far between. Any even perfect number will end in a 6 or an 8, and will be a triangular number (a number that works for setting up bowling pins). We don't know if there are any odd numbers; no one has found any, but no one has proven there aren't any. We do know that if there is one, it would have to be larger than 10^300.

6, the first perfect number is important in religion. According to Berashit, G-d created the world in 6 days. Is this a coincedence? Saint Augustine (354-430) wrote "Six is a number perfect in itself, and not because G-d created all things in six days; rather, the converse is true. G-d created all things in six days because the number is perfect."

This year we celebrated Birchat Hachama, a holiday that comes once every 28 years, when, according to Jewish tradition, the sun is at the same point as it was at creation. So the sun goes through a 28 year cycle, a cycle that is 28 times as long as it takes the earth to go around the sun. Is it possible that G-d made it this way because 28 is a perfect number?

So now, can anyone tell something in creation that centers around the number 496?

Seems to me that finding a word whose g'matria is 496? I think that's a cheat.
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