As I was looking at my Numbers Game: Mathematics for Dummies Category I realized that I had omitted a few. The Bumbastories march through the numerals was more like a hop, skip and a jump, a tip-toe through the tulips. Yikes, we haven’t even done the two yet! Also, we still haven’t done the six and we haven’t done the nine. Not to mention the zero. OK, I won’t mention it. But these are serious omissions! What if the six gets pissed off? What if the nine feels insulted?

Let us begin to make amends. Work has already begun on the nine, a joint project with Marina Kanavaki! Let’s do the six today. Let’s take a day off from work and call in six.


Six is what they call a perfect number. It’s factors – 1, 2, and 3 – sum up to six. Because of this apparent coincidence the ancients considered the six a perfect number (28 is also a perfect number). Maimonides states that God created the world in six days because six is sacred, which implies that the six’s holiness precedes that of God. Six is two threes or three twos. Or just six.

Bees employ the symmetry and strength of the hexagon to build their hives. images-10The radius of a circle circumscribes exactly six times in a circle! Try it: take a compass, draw a circle and then start marking off lengths of that radius. It fits exactly six times! Why this is so is a mystery. Regular hexagons, composed of two equilateral triangles, possess a lovely symmetry, and make for some great and easy tilings or tesselations. See the photo gallery.

images-1The six pointed star, the star of David, is not only beautiful, but projects a certain stability. Sheriff”s badges feature the six-pointed star. A touchdown is six points (forget about the extra point, and really they should forget the extra point). There’s six strings on a guitar. There’s Six Flags amusement parks, there’s the six-pack, the Six-Day War, The Sixth Sense, and when it’s all over, it’s…..six feet under, my friend!

The carbon atom has six protons and six electrons, which enables carbon to combine easily with other atoms and to create molecules for us living beings to enjoy. If it weren’t for carbon, we’d have no trees, no sugar, or gasoline. No cake or cookies, or watermelon either.

Time to conclude this post about the six. I don’t want to create too large a carbon footprint. A pleasant week to all, and don’t forget the six.