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Obama by the numbers

By Aziz Inan
On January 22, 2009

Numbers are such an integral part of our lives. They explain so much - both about the world around us and about one another. Furthermore, they connect us in numerous ways, creating bonds and links that make for fascinating study.

Some of the important numbers in the lives of our new president, Barack H. Obama II and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., are worth a closer look. They do indeed seem to have a cryptic connection.

King was born on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Ga., and was shot to death on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., at the age of 39. When Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, King was 32 years old. Obama was only 7 when King was assassinated in 1968.

Forty-one years after King's death, on Jan. 20, 2009, Obama, at age 47, was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America. If King were still alive today, he would have been 80 years old.

Obama will turn 48 later this year. As you can see, the numbers mentioned in this paragraph play an essential role in putting everything into context. An interesting question that comes to mind is, are there some cryptic connections between some of these numbers?

My answer is, you bet there are, and here are some examples.

First of all, the years 1968 and 2009 are not only apart by 41 years, but each is divisible by the number 41. That is, 1968 is the product of numbers 41 and 48 and 2009 is the product of 41 and 49. So, the year King died, 1968, which is the product of 41 and 48, contains some cryptic information about the fact that 41 years later Obama became president of the United States and turn 48 the same year.

Similarly, the year 2009, which is the product of 41 and 49, contains some cryptic information about the fact that something terrible happened 41 years ago, in the year 1968, where 49 represents the difference between the two halves of the number 1968, that is, 68 - 19 = 49.

In addition, if one takes the numbers 41 and 49, the product of which is 2009, then reverses each to obtain numbers 14 and 94, not only the difference of these two numbers is 80, which would have been King's age if he were still alive in 2009, but also number 94 is twice 47, which is Obama's current age.

Also, if King's birth year, 1929, is split in the middle into two numbers 19 and 29, these two numbers add up to 48, Obama's age later this year. Also, if Obama's birth year, 1961, is split in the middle into two numbers 19 and 61, these two numbers add up to 80, King's age if he were still alive this year. Also, since Obama became the 44th president at age 47, if one takes the difference of the squares of these two numbers, that is (47 x 47) - (44 x 44) = 7 × 39, the numbers 7 and 39 represent Obama's and King's ages when King died in 1968.

Also, the product of numbers 44 and 47 yields 2068 and 2068 is the 100th anniversary year of King's death.

Also, if the number 2068 is split in the middle, the difference of the two numbers 68 and 20 is 48, Obama's age later this year. Also, if King were alive and became the 44th president of the United States today, the difference of the squares of the numbers 44 and 80 would result in (80 x 80) - (44 x 44) = 4464, which is also the product of 48 and 93.

Here, if the number 4464 is split in the middle, 44 represents the 44th presidency and 64 is twice 32, which is the age difference between King and Obama.

As far as 48 times 93, 48 is Obama's age later this year, and the reverse of number 93 is 39, which is King's age at his death. Also, the difference of the squares of King's and Obama's ages today yield (80 x 80) - (47 x 47) = 33 × 127, where 33 = 80 - 47, which is the difference of their ages, 127 = 80 + 47, which is the sum of their ages, and 127 - 33 = 94, which is twice 47 and also reverse of number 49. The list goes on.

Dr. Inan, who is celebrating his 20th year at the University of Portland, is a professor of electrical engineering. For another look at his interest in history, please go to www.ieee.org/organizations/pub/newsletters/emcs/fall06/franklin.pdf Dr. Inan is currently preparing a recreational mathematical puzzle book.


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