Nº 124: the number that turns into a drink

Nº 124: il numero che si trasforma in bevanda

"Mathematicians are machines that turn coffee into theorems". The phrase is from Alfred Renyi, one of the "Martians", as Enrico Fermi called them: Hungarian scientists who, with the advent of Nazism, fled to the United States before the Second World War.

So, before you read this post, take a good one bottle of Nº 124 , drain it to the last drop. Then read and send us any other property of number 124 that we may have overlooked ....

As everyone knows , Nº 124 "stole" the number from the artwork of Tom Tjaarda, who designed the 124 Spider for Pininfarina. Tjaarda, an American designer of Dutch origins, has designed about forty Italian cars, including the Pantera De Tomaso, the Lancia Thema and the FIAT Barchetta. And he was rightly called "the master of proportions".

The proportions lead back to mathematics. Pythagoras thought that proportions were the basis of the universe. Now we know that the rational numbers, so dear to Pythagoras, are an infinitesimal of the irrational ones - that is, given two lengths measured in the real world it is impossible for the relationship between the two to be a rational number.

Not for this the proportions, rational or not, are not important. And proportions are ratios between numbers, and 124 is a number. What kind of number is it?

  • Obviously it is even. It also differs from a power of 2 to another power of two (4 is missing to get to 128)
  • It is non-totaling. That is, there is no number that has 124 numbers, smaller than the number itself, coprime (two numbers are coprime if they have no common divisors except 1)
  • It is the 17th non-total even number
  • The sum of the digits is a prime number (7), which is also the power of 2 it approaches (128 = 2 to 7)
  • It is an untouchable number, i.e. there is no number whose divisors (including 1), added together, give 124.
  • It is the sum of 8 consecutive prime numbers (5 + 7 + 11 + 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29)
  • It goes without saying that, being untouchable, it is not perfect: the sum of the divisors of perfect numbers gives the number itself (eg 28 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 7 + 14)

The number may be imperfect ... but the drink is (or at least we try)!


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