Sunday, August 2, 2009

. . . to the nines

So you may think I'm a little weird after you read this - but that's okay. I am weird in many ways, and proud of it. I do a little thing with numbers in my head. Perhaps it started when I was a child, to ward off boredom in never-ending Bible study sessions, or to ward off sadness during a difficult period of my childhood. However it started, it is something I just discover my mind doing - I never decide to do it. I would not call it an obsession, I just find myself doing little math calculations with the numbers on license plates as I drive along or sit in traffic. (Please try and restrain the laughter - you have to see what I discovered doing this!) So, I'm not really paying attention as I do this little math thing - I think it is just a part of my mind that does this - there are other parts of my mind that talk, drive, plan, occasionally curse at rude drivers, etc. But here is what I discovered just by accident:

Take ANY number and add all of the digits in it together, e.g. the number 48; 4+8=12; then add the digits in the answer (12) together until you arrive at a single digit, in this case 1+2=3. Then subtract the single digit you get from the original number you chose 48-3=45. Then add all the digits in the answer together 4+5=9. (If there is more than one digit in your answer after subtracting, add those numbers together, until you get one number).

Guess what: No matter what number you choose at the beginning (adding its digits together then adding the digits in answer together til you have one number. Subtract that one digit from the original number and) you will ALWAYS get the answer/number 9.

Okay, let's try it a few times:

1111 ~ 1+1+1+1=4 ~ 1111-4=1107 ~ 1+1+0+7=9

5555 ~ 5+5+5+5=20 ~ 2+0=2 ~ 5555-2=5553 ~ 5+5+5+3=18 ~ 1+8=9

364 ~ 3+6+4=13 ~ 1+3=4 ~ 364-4=360 ~ 3+6+0=9

1972 ~ 1+9+7+2=19 ~ 1+9=10 ~ 1+0=1 ~ 1972 -1=1971 ~ 1+9+7+1=18 ~ 1+8=9

68 ~ 6+8=14 ~ 1+4=5 ~ 68-5=63 ~ 6+3=9

97 ~ 9+7=16 ~ 1+6=7 ~ 97-7=90 ~ 9+0=9

69 ~ 6+9=15 ~ 1+5=6 ~ 69-6=63 ~ 6+3=9

8634 ~ 8+6+3+4=21 ~ 2+1=3 ~ 8634-3=8631 ~ 8+6+3+1=18 ~ 1+8=9

Now isn't that weird? Follow the instructions with any number you can come up with, and the answer will ALWAYS be 9.

Now this may not be news to those of you out there who are mathematicians, but it was a surprise to me and to everyone I demonstrated it to. I know that this works this way, I do not know why it works out to 9 every time. If anyone knows the why - please explain it to me.

In my excitement and hubris, I thought I had discovered this mathematical oddity. But my husband brought me back down to earth saying it had to be a known phenomenon and sure enough, he was right. I googled it and there it was - already known and clearly described. Whatever . . . I had fun making my own little discovery, and you can now boggle the minds of a few people by showing them this too.

There are a couple of people in my family who do not believe I stumbled across this by myself. They always giggle and say I must have found it on the internet. I did not. I noticed it all by my little self and even if it does make me weird, it was an exciting moment of discovery. Always did favour the number 9.


  1. That is so cool! who'd'a thunk it?

  2. I don't think this makes you weird. It's a puzzle and it's something that appeals to your have a brain that enjoys doing this. I think it's a gift -- math, numbers and I are sworn enemies!! lol!! I applaud anyone who masters the mystery of the numbers!

  3. Hm, clever or what.
    Do you also have music as a talent? Music and maths go together, not usually art and maths.

  4. OH, Bonnie, I know that feeling - having discovered something anew, from within you are absolutely sure, to find that your "original" discovery has been floating in fields other than your own. Yet, the sense of wonder, the thrill of that moment when it was yours to be known, bears no shadow.

    On another note, "Numerology" is one of my many delights. I have charted names, day of birth, words, and have taken joy in the connective discoveries.

    Consider me one of your number playmates!

  5. Hi Bonnie,
    It is wonderful when we discover something new. What a way to simulate your mind. This is also a great way to teach kids how to do math.

  6. I saw a bunch of numbers and came straight to the bottom! I don't have a head for figures.

  7. I believe you Bonnie...I like math puzzles too and have come across this but mostly because I have one of those husbands too that took all kinds of math classes...I stopped after AlgebraII. I'm impressed you came upon it by chance!

  8. Sherry Lee:

    Well, I can't claim to have conquered math in any way - this was just a little neophyte stumbling upon something interesting.

  9. Friko:

    Well, I love music but never had the chance to see if I really had any talent in that domain. I can, however, recall the lyrics to any song I have heard put to music.

  10. Rose Marie:

    Yes - a bit of a let down, when you think you have discovered something new - and you have not. Now, I am intrigued - numerology of words?
    A friend has demonstrated the numerology of names and dates - but I did not know you could apply it to words.

  11. Choices: Yes, I think little "tricks" like this would draw children into the subject.

  12. Sandra:

    Well, how nice of you to leave a comment even though you were turned off by the post! I knew this would not interest many, but decided to take the risk. Four hours passed with not one comment - so I posted my smeared photographs and the comments started to come again.

  13. I wasn't turned off, they simply blur together for me. It's interesting all the same! I'm used to no comments as I often talk about things no else cares about. C'est la vie! I just realized today that I wasn't officially following your blog. So I fixed that mistake. : )

  14. Sandra:

    I check out your blog all the time, because I do find what you talk about interesting. I did notice you joined today - somehow I assumed you already had, since you visit often. I'm glad.

  15. Bonnie, it is amazing that you figured this out all on your own! Who cares that it had already been discovered? I think you're brilliant! :)

  16. Hi Bonnie

    I love your mind...I love the way minds have a mind of their own...

    Happy days


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