I WAS SHOWING Kaprekar’s constant to some friends during a dinner party. Had a napkin. Pen. Did that cool number thing that Kaprekar’s routine does. For those not familiar with Kaprekar’s constant, it is a math thing.
I wouldn’t consider myself a math guy, but have to say that math, or more specifically ‘numbers’, fascinate me. The links between numbers and the real world can be pretty cool.
Numbers are everywhere, even when you’re not looking for them. But I do look sometimes. Take calendar dates. March 14th for one. 3.14. π
Kind of a big number in the math world. Did you know that 3.14 also happens to be the birthday of Albert Einstein? Pretty cool coincidence, huh? He’s kind of a big deal in the math world, as well. Which brings to mind another guy: Stephen Hawking. Brilliant theoretical physicist. Author of Brief History of Time, among other bestselling works. He died recently. Just over a year ago. Happened to be on March 14th. Yeah. That date. π
Now that’s a crazy coincidence. Two luminary brilliant math guys linked to that date.
Linked. Numbers can do that. When we’re born we are all linked to our birth date. It’s our number. A number we tend to remember.
Hawking was born on January 8th, 1942. Which coincidentally was the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death. Galileo, as in the dude who has been called the father of everything associated with math.
Father of observational astronomy. Father of modern physics. Father of the scientific method. Father of modern science. Yeah that guy. Was a polymath, which essentially means “knows everything”. ‘Math’ is in that word, by the way, if you didn’t notice that.
Math. Numbers. Coincidences.
Three major, as in big time major, brilliant math men all linked by numbers. π being one of them. Cue the creepy music.
Keep that music going. Take 6174. That number is Kaprekar’s constant. Also plays a small bit part in my book Reality Recoded. It’s a number that happens to be a very cool number.
Want to see? I’ll show you.
We’ll take any four-digit number, where at least one number is different—can’t use 0000, for instance, but we can use 0001—and then put them in ascending order and minus them by the descending order. Whatever number we get, we’ll repeat the procedure. It’s called Kaprekar’s routine. That routine will yield 6174 in eight iterations or less.
So what number should we use? To keep this all linked, let’s use the first four digits of pi.
That would be 3141.
(As mentioned… ascending order. That would be 4311. And descending order. That would be 1134. Subtract. Repeat. All shown below.)
4311 – 1134 = 3177
7731 – 1377 = 6354
6543 – 3456 = 3087
8730 – 0378 = 8352
8532 – 2358 = 6174
Not bad, huh? Try it with any number. I tell you what you’ll get. 6174 every time.
That’s numbers for you. Tip of the iceberg. Somewhere below is the code. The code to it all.