With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it is only fitting that we explore the relationships between numbers. Yes, numbers — like people — have relationships! They don’t play Guitar Hero and discuss world issues necessarily, but they do have properties that define them and how they interact with each other.
For a prime example, we need look no further than prime numbers — those funny digits that can only be divided into whole numbers by one and themselves. Prime numbers could be considered the “building blocks” of all numbers, because, mathematically speaking, with prime numbers you can make all the other numbers, but there are no numbers that make them up other than one and themselves.
Numbers can also be inversely related. For example, the number seven, or 7/1 is the inverse, or reciprocal of 1/7, which means that when you multiply them together you get the number one. You have probably heard about this before: two people who are complete opposites, but together complete each other . . . Numbers, you see, can be quite hopelessly romantic.
Yet another type of numbers is roots. Roots are very special because they only become whole numbers when they are squared, or multiplied by the exact same number. For example, root three, or 1.7321, is an irrational number. — or a number which cannot be expressed as a simple fraction — until you multiply it by 1.7321, and get the “rational” number three.
Each number is unique, but only when they are combined with others can all the numbers come to life! Likewise, a person is just a person until there is someone else. What they are together defines something new altogether! “Five” is a combination of “two and three,” and the relation between defines what they become together. Say a boy loves a girl, for example. Their love defines them together as something entirely new, which is composed of the two of them.
Numbers may not be able to love, but they are able to complete each other, and perhaps that is the greatest proof of love. If numbers can love then they may be able to show us more about the universe than just a way to count. So next time you are putting numbers together, remember that it may just be the start of a beautiful relationship. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone and to all numbers!