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Pennsylvania marks 223 years as state with a math rarity

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Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010
 

Pennsylvania became a state 223 years ago today, and perhaps no one is more excited than University of Portland professor Aziz S. Inan.

"The date has very rare mathematical properties," said Inan, 55, of Beaverton, Ore., an electrical engineering professor.

Dec. 12, 2010, or 12-12-2010, creates what Inan calls a reverse perfect square — the first of three that will occur in the United States this century. Four happened last century; two in the 1800s.

Huh?

If you flip around the numerals in the date, you get 01022121. Because numbers don't start with zero, take out the zero. What's left — 1,022,121 — has a square root of 1,011, making it a reverse perfect square. Other dates this century that so qualify are Dec. 14, 2030, and Oct. 20, 2062, Inan said.

Pennsylvania celebrated its 164th anniversary of statehood on another reverse perfect square, Dec. 12, 1951.

Inan said he spent three or four hours mathematically tinkering with today's date; Dec. 12, 1787, the date when Pennsylvania formally signed the U.S. Constitution; and the ensuing 223 years. He found: If you multiply 2 times 2 times 3, you get 12. Today is the 12th day of the 12th month.

"I see myself as a normal person. I have a family, children. I get my sleep," he said.

What, if anything, do Inan's discoveries portend for today?

"I don't see any reason why it won't be a good day, but I don't believe there's any significance to the date other than it has very rare mathematical properties. I'm not a numerologist," Inan said.

Francesca Szarnicki of Leechburg runs NumerologyWizard.com.

"I do think maybe there is significance to the square root thing, but my thing is to do very personal readings," Szarnicki said, with emphasis on the word "maybe."

What stands out about today's date, as far as Pennsylvania is concerned, are the numbers 12 and 23, she said. Twelve is a powerful number, and 23 is "a fabulous number about money."

"Maybe we'll do better financially. I think our 223rd anniversary might bring good luck," Szarnicki said.

That's good news, considering the state faces a projected deficit of $4 billion to $5 billion next year.

Mathematical and cosmic hoopla aside, the governor's office planned no special events for the state's 223rd anniversary.

"I'm wondering how I missed the significance of this anniversary," said Gary Tuma, spokesman for Gov. Ed Rendell.

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