One week left of the semester...

No matter how time seems to sift so quickly through my fingers, I'm always surprised by the way it falls. How I came to be here, right here.

I am 23.

The 23 enigma refers to the belief that most incidents and events are directly connected to the number 23, some modification of the number 23, or a number related to the number 23.

23 is one of the most commonly cited prime numbers - a number that can only be divided by itself and one. Twenty three is the lowest prime that consists of consecutive digits. Primes have been described as the "atoms" of mathematics - the building blocks of the world of numbers. An American businessman has put up a US$1m (£500,000) prize for the first mathematician to find a pattern in primes - a problem known as the Riemann hypothesis.

More freaky numerical coincidences: Charles Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859 - 1+8+5+9 = 23. Two divided by three makes 0.666 recurring (allegedly - actually it makes 0.6666666667). The Hiroshima bomb was dropped at 8.15am - 8+15= 23.

The terrorist attacks on America on 11 September 2001 have been held up as one of the most portentous examples of the disturbing power of 23. The figures in the date (9+11+2+0+0+1) add up to 23. The independent US commission which investigated the attacks found the date had been chosen randomly by the hijackers and had originally been planned for later in the year. Alternative explanations for the date included the taking over of Palestine by Britain in 1922 and the fact that 911 is the US emergency code.

The Bible does not let 23 pass without conferring upon it some significance, at least to students of the Book. Although the Old Testament is unspecific, it is widely held that Adam and Eve had 23 daughters. The 23rd verse of the first chapter of Genesis brings the act of creation to a close while the 23rd chapter of the book of Genesis deals entirely with death, namely that of Abraham's wife, Sarah. The most famous and most quoted of the Psalms is number 23: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters."

Each parent contributes 23 chromosomes to the start of human life. The nuclei of cells in human bodies have 46 chromosomes made out of 23 pairs. Egg and sperm cells in humans have 23 chromosomes which fuse and divide to create an embryo.

I'm going to go ahead and guess that this is going to be an important year.


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