01 Mar, 2018

TwentyThree – the origins of life

TwentyThree - the origins of life

TwentyThree – the origins of life

The number 23 crops up in almost every field of study. From religion to maths, all the way to literature and the very essence of our DNA building blocks.

While the founders of TwentyThree don’t hold with some of the wilder conspiracy theories (yes there is some Knights Templar and Illuminati in there) the legend of the number’s influence spoke to both of us – in our personal lives, as well as our business.

We both have an incurable fascination with how the world works. How literature and design can benefit humanity and how science and technology can affect meaningful change. Our interest in how all things cerebral can be used to craft a clearer message and a better understanding, can be likened to a Douglas Adams-like interest in the “interconnectedness of all things”.

Here are some fun facts associated with the number 23 which speak to just how many fields of interest it touches:

  • Twenty three is the lowest prime number that consists of consecutive digits – including the only even prime number, two. Primes have been likened to the atoms of mathematics, or the building blocks of numbers.
  • Staying with things mathematical John Nash, the Nobel Prize-winning economist was obsessed with 23. Nash published 23 scientific articles. Sadly it was also connected to his later fight with mental illness. On one occasion he declared that Pope John XXIII, pictured on the cover of a magazine, was in fact himself, since 23 was his favourite number. Coincidentally, Nash and his wife died in a car accident on May 23, 2015.
  • As we now know, 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.
  • Moving into the realm of modern forms of communication,
  • The first Morse Code transmission – “What hath God wrought?” – was from the Biblical passage Numbers 23:23.
  • Jumping ahead, 23 is the TCP/IP port used for Telnet and is the default Telnet command. Telnet is a network protocol that allows a user on one computer to log into another computer that is part of the same network.
  • For the history buffs, Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times.
  • The author William Burroughs was notoriously obsessed with 23, going so far as to write ’23 skidoo’. Legend has it that his fascination with the number began while living in Tangiers. There he met a Captain Clark who ran a ferry between Spain and Morocco. One day, Clark told Burroughs that he had been doing the route for 23 years without incident. Later that day, the ferry sank, killing the captain. While Burroughs was pondering the incident, a radio bulletin announced the crash of a Flight 23 on the New York-Miami route. The pilot was another Captain Clark. The events prompted an obsession which saw Burroughs record every occurrence of the number 23 for the rest of his life.

We could go on and on, but we are not going down the rabbithole of conspiracy. That said, do yourself a favour and see how often 23 pops up in life and in movies. And do drop us a line, we’d love to hear your experiences.

Yours in art, numbers, design, literature, science, tech and all things interconnected.

Claire and Bron

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