The power of 42

I know this sounds crazy, but could the number 42 really be the answer to life, the universe and everything?

Now, don't shoot the messenger on this, because I have looked into it and there is a lot of evidence pointing towards this hypothesis. E.g.:

  • The numbers three and seven appear very commonly, and those two numbers can be divided by 42 without decimal place.

  • One point in history, 1945, was the year ww2 ended. Take away 42 from 1945 and you get 1903, the year when the Wright brothers made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight. look here

  • 4+2= 6, which is a factor of 42 (see below).

  • The Beatles went on form 1962 (their first studio contract) to 1970 (when they split). 1970 minus 1964 is 8, and there are 8 factors in 42 (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 14, 21, 42). look here

  • Elvis Presley died at the age of 42. look here

This, and much more, could add up to 42 being the answer to life, the universe and everything!

So, is the whole thing just a universal joke, or did Douglas Adams hit the button with the answer?

What do you think?

Note by Matthew Hayes
5 years, 11 months ago

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1 vote

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You can say the same about any number, to be honest. I could subtract any other arbitrary number from 1945 and come across something unique in that year. It's neither coincidence nor the answer to everything. It's just the beauty of numbers being there everywhere.

Vishnu Bhagyanath - 5 years, 11 months ago

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I agree

Matthew Hayes - 5 years, 11 months ago

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Of course it is crazy, 42 isn't really the "the answer to life, the universe and everything". 42 is a particularly mathematically rich special number, something even the ancient Egyptians knew about from their system of fractions

12+13+17+1237=12+13+17+142=1\dfrac { 1 }{ 2 } +\dfrac { 1 }{ 3 } +\dfrac { 1 }{ 7 } +\dfrac { 1 }{ 2\cdot 3\cdot 7 } =\dfrac { 1 }{ 2 } +\dfrac { 1 }{ 3 } +\dfrac { 1 }{ 7 } +\dfrac { 1 }{ 42 } =1

but any "answer" to "life, universe, and all" should at least be explanatory, i.e. tell us what else we can conclude from such a thing. 42 doesn't say anything, other than it simply pops up everywhere. It is a Catalan number, for instance. Well, π\pi and ee pops up everywhere too, but so? Deep understanding involves something more than just a number.

Michael Mendrin - 5 years, 11 months ago

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