We have gathered a list of fascinating math’s facts that demonstrate the pervasiveness of mathematics and the frequency with which it is used by everyone.
1. A year isn’t exactly 365 days – it’s 365.2564 days! That’s why we have a leap year every four years.
2. The spiral shapes of sunflowers, snails and shells follow the Fibonacci sequence, where the two previous numbers are added together to get the next (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34…).
3. 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered in water. However, only 3 percent of the earth’s water is freshwater and two-thirds of freshwater is frozen in ice sheets and glaciers. The other third is found in lakes, rivers and underground.
4. People tend to have about 100,000 hairs on their head, and you can lose around 50 to 100 hairs every day.
5. Baking is mathematical – to make the perfect sugar cookie, follow a simple ratio of 3:2:1, or 3 parts flour to 2 parts butter to 1 part sugar.
6. If you fold a piece of paper 45 times, it will reach the moon! This is known as exponential growth, which means that the rate of growth is proportional to its size. So, the thickness of the piece of paper will increase exponentially with each fold.
7. Zero is the only number that can’t be represented in roman numerals.
8. What comes after a million, billion and trillion? A quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, decillion and undecillion.
9. An icosagon is a shape with 20 sides.
10. ‘Four’ is the only number in the English language that is spelt with the same number of letters as the number itself.
11. An Abacus is considered the origin of the calculator.
12. If you multiply 111,111,111 × 111,111,111 you get 12,345,678,987,654,321 – a palindrome number that reads the same forwards or backwards.
13. The most common favourite number is 7.
14. Adding up the numbers 1 – 100 consecutively (1+2+3+4+5…) gives you 5050.
15. A ‘jiffy’ is an actual unit of time. The unit differs depending on the field of study. For physicists, a jiffy is how long light takes to travel a distance of one femtometre, which is a millionth of a millionth of a millimetre. That means that there are about three hundred thousand billion billion jiffys in a second!
16. One way to remember the value of Pi (3.1415926…) is to count the letters in each word of the question: ‘May I have a large container of coffee?’
17. In 1900, all the world’s mathematical knowledge could be written in 80 books; today it would fill more than 100,000 books.
18. 12 + 3 – 4 + 5 + 67 + 8 + 9 = 100
19. The word ‘geometry’ comes from the Greek words ‘geo’, meaning earth, and ‘metria’, meaning measure.
20. A square is a polygon with 4 sides of equal length and 4 right angled (90°) corners.
If you’ve got a little math wiz on your hands, or a young one that needs a little extra help, check out these websites to spur them on and get them loving maths!