Cornell professor not baffled by numerical phenomenonJuly 7, 2009
MOUNT VERNON – Cornell mathematics professor Jim Freeman had the number of a Cedar Rapids Gazette story on Wednesday. All nine of them.
Wednesday was a unique day, mathematically speaking, when the time/date combination of 12:34:56 7/8/09 came up. Some were saying this phenomenon would never happen again, but Freeman knew better.
“It definitely will occur again, if we don’t blow ourselves up,” but not for another 100 years, Freeman was quoted as saying. As long as only the last two digits of the year are used, this phenomenon will occur again in 2109, 2209, and so on.
Stephen Bean, chair of the mathematics department, pointed out seperately that sequences of this nature actually happen on occasion. If the seconds are not included, for example, then 4:56 7/8/09 will occur on the same day, and 9:10 11/12/13 will happen in just a few years, and 1:23 4/5/06 and 2:34 5/6/07 have both happened in recent years.
As if there weren’t enough coincidences in play, the story was written by Erin McNeill ’10, former co-editor-in-chief of The Cornellian and currently an intern at The Gazette.
To read the full story by McNeill, visit The Gazette Online.
For more information, please contact Cornell's Director of Media Relations