FortyTwo

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In "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe" a collosal computer was built to discover the answer to the universe and everything. The answer turned out to be 42. Some interpretations of that are in the link below my own 42 story...

My father often says reading the work of the scientist himself was often more understandable than reading about it in a text book. So, in my teens, I read Einstein's little book, "The Theory of Special Relativity". I was amazed that his simple mathematical trick of equating energy in Newton's equations to energy in Maxwell's equations of light yeilded e=mc^2. The fact that nature actually obeyed that trick seemed incomprehensible.

In the appendix, he assume 6 degrees of freedom and employs simple algebra to simplify his equations over a couple pages, I read with interest as all the units canceled nicely, and presto! 42, a dimensionless quantity resulted! To this day I have no idea what the significance of that result is. He went on to assume 12 degrees of freedom, I think, and simplified over several more pages and came up with another dimsentionless number, 136 or something. A few years later "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe" came out... I laughed myself silly when the answer came out to 42, it seemed too much of a coincidence. -- JimScarver


See also: http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?FortyTwo

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