### Zero

In tennis the word ‘love’ means a score of zero. Why?

Some say it comes from the gambling expression ‘love or money’ – you can play a game for money (stakes) or love (nothing).

Others claim it’s because in French ‘l’oeuf’ means ‘the egg’ and in 2-dimensions an egg looks like a zero. Ridiculous? Maybe, but in the sport of cricket a batsman who scores zero runs is said to have scored ‘a duck’ – which is meant to be short for ‘a duck’s egg’ – the shape of which looks like a zero!

### One

1 is significant in fraud detection. Benford’s law shows us that in real life situations, 1 appears as the first digit in numbers more often than 2, which appears more often than 3 etc.

For example, 145, 1189 and 1590 will appear more often than 245, 2189 and 2590, which will appear more often than 345, 3189 and 3590, etc.

About a third of numbers in many real life situations – including scientific data and financial accounts – should begin with 1. Otherwise fraudulent manipulation may be suspected.

### Two

Only one prime number is even, and no doubt you’ve guessed by now that it’s 2.

### Three

Take any number and multiply it by 3. Now add up the digits of the new number. Whatever number you begin with, the result will always be divisible by 3. For example, take the number 1587:

And 18 can be divided by 3 to leave a result with no remainder.

### Four

Four colors are sufficient to color any map. This conjecture by Francis Guthrie in 1853 was the first major mathematical theorem to be proved using a computer. The honors went to programmers Kenneth Appel and Wolfgang Haken in 1976.

### Five

There are only five platonic solids: tetrahedron (4 faces); cube (6 faces); octahedron (8 faces); dodecahedron (12 faces); icosohedron (20 faces). The platonic solids are completely regular, and so can be used as fair dice.

### Six

6 is the smallest perfect number, meaning it can be made by summing its divisors

28 is the next perfect number:

### Seven

According to Christian tradition, there are seven deadly sins: avarice, lust, sloth, envy, pride, gluttony, and wrath.

### Eight

8 × 12 + 2 = 98

8 × 123 + 3 = 987

8 × 1234 + 4 = 9876

8 × 12345 + 5 = 98765

8 × 123456 + 6 = 987654

8 × 1234567 + 7 = 9876543

8 × 12345678 + 8 = 98765432

8 × 123456789 + 9 = 987654321

### Nine

For 76 years our solar system was said to have nine planets. Pluto became the ninth planet following its discovery by Clyde Tombaugh on February 18, 1930. It lost its status on August 24, 2006 when the International Astronomical Union formally defined the word planet in a way that excluded Pluto, now defined as a dwarf planet.

### Ten

Pythagoras and his followers believed 10 was a divine number. Their holy symbol the tetractys or decad consisted of 10 points; the number symbolized the harmony of the cosmos, a greater unity than 1.

**Author of this page: The Doc**

© All rights reserved.

Carson says

My favourite strangely weird number is 9. In banking (before computers) if a mistake became evident during the tellers “balancing” after 3 pm each day, the first item to be checked was whether the ERROR WAS EVENLY DIVISIBLE BY 9. If the teller were “out” by, say, $819, the mistake she would be quite certain had been made would be an “inversion” in which a deposit or withdrawal had an accidental two digits reversed. The trick can still be used in many situations today.

The Doc says

I didn’t know this. Good one! đź™‚

Carson says

The reason 1 occurs more often than 2, and 2 more often than 3, and so on, is logical: you must count PAST 1 in order to get to 2; PAST 2 to get to 3; and so on. Whether we “count our way” to a higher number or not, this is the guiding logic. Similarly, your chances of being in a [car] accident will always be greatest close to home, as you must begin close to home to get farther away. And, one other, albeit a rather sad one: the two main reasons for the deaths of teenagers are usually car crashes or suicide; and those–or their “equivalents”–must always be, as teenagers are generally not anticipated to die. In other words, teens are young and healthy, and “should not die at all” unless by some accident (or bad fortune leading to suicide).

Jane Young says

amazing!

Warren Beswick says

I cannot wait to show my grandson, aged 12 this article! He loves maths and is about to start high school. He wants to learn more about everything. This will help inspire him to pursue his higher studies.

Carson says

If your gradson has a zest for learning, both you and he might enjoy taking a [very, very] large piece of graph paper and “illustrating” a succession of ten “tens columns” in which each succeeding digit is placed NOT IN LINE, but on ONE LINE ABOVE the “1” to its left. In teaching, we try to have students comprehend that EACH TENS COLUMN is TEN TIMES different than the value of its neighbour. This will help them comprehend, at least metaphorically, that there is no comparison between millionaires or bilionaires and common people; such that were I to give your grandson a MILLION DOLLARS A DAY, EVERY WEEKDAY EVERY WEEK, it would take me about three years to give him a billion dollars. Every time we move from one “tens column” to the one beside it, we start out afresh with a value 10 TIMES that of the next column, so writing numbers BESIDE one another gives us the wrong picture altogether.

Ben says

Excellent!