TU Ten: Top Ten Numbers and Letters

Abigail LaBounty:

1) 1. 1 has always been there for us. Since our first birthday, 1 has been around. Whether it be the easiest multiplication table, those weird stickers our teachers put on our homework or basketball huddles, 1 has been there through thick and thin. Here’s to you, number one. You’re number one!

2) Φ. Really, what’s not to love about the golden ratio, phi? It’s in leaves, in our skeletons, all over architecture, can be used to compute the Fibonacci sequence and, most importantly, the Egyptians built pyramids using it! THE EGYPTIANS YOU GUYS!

3) ∞. Infinity’s the first fun number you learned as a kid. From “to infinity and beyond,” to answering taunts with, “well you’re infinity nerdy!” infinity has served us well. That coupled with Dr. Doty’s constant reminders that “someday we’ll be able to write proofs about infinity times infinity, but not yet!” landed infinity the number 3 spot.

4) i. The square root of -1 is an important mathematical construct, or so I’m told. Really, I’m hoping putting i on this list will convince complex numbers to leave me the hell alone. I can see you outside my house every night. No one wants you here.

5) 0. Possibly the most important mathematical construct, here’s a shoutout to 0’s elegant simplicity in telling us that all the pizza’s gone. It also means the same thing regardless of which power base your numeral system has, so that’s pretty cool.
6) 420. It’s divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 and a bunch of other numbers. Also it’s the perfect temperature to cook sweet potato fries, which is the best food. Yeah, that’s why.

7) 729. Socrates claimed that the life of a philosopher is 729 times better than the life of a tyrant. Unfortunately, he was wrong.

8) 68. He doesn’t get as much love as his older sister, but he’s actually a really nice guy.

9) 666. Meet me on the Old U at 2 a.m. and bring two goats and a chicken if you want to know why 666 is a great number. You’ll pass your finals, I promise.

10) τ. Tau made the list, but barely. Tau is used by nerds everywhere to try to one up each other because “pi is so broken and tau makes math so much more intuitive.” Though this is correct, the sheer amount of people parroting this argument as if it matters almost knocked tau off the list.

Adam Lux

10) E: The frequency which this letter appears in modern english is astonishing. Quite possibly the most versatile letter, its sounds range from the soft rise of “the” to the quick fall of “Ed.”

9) dhad ﺾ:
An Arabic letter. Fairly difficult to correctly pronounce by those who do not speak Arabic as it is almost completely unique to that language. Pretty cool.

8) Ъ: The Cyrillic Script, or Russian, letter also known as the hard sign. It has no phonetic sound of its own but is rather an orthographic device. The hard sign marks whether you stress the last letter of the word. A letter that doesn’t even have a sound, pretty meta.

7) &: Not necessarily an English letter the ampersand is a symbol that carries meaning, so I’m going to count it OK. I make the rules for this list not you. STOP TRYING TO PUT ME IN YOUR STUPID BOX. Anyway the ampersand is cool. It usually means “and” & looks really pretty in serif fonts. Also useful in coding so there’s that.

6) G. Back to English letters. G is definitely one of the best consonants. It can sound guttural and grotesque or gorgeous and grandiose. There is also a longstanding internet debate over whether a certain word is pronounced with a hard or soft G sound.

5) Y: Y not, am I right? (sorry).

4) S: Why have only one thing when you can have many? Well S is the letter for you. Only have one cookie? do you want more? Just add an S and now you have cookieS. S is also a crowd favourite for anyone who speaks parseltongue. Sayha gassi hef.

3) I: Definitely the cutest letter and the one that always gets picked on. I mean the darn thing gets smashed by a giant lamp like I don’t even know how many times a day.

2) A. First is the best, well second best. A is a reliable, attractive vowel. Takes care of the family, brings home the bacon and is always suave with the ladies.

1) Q: Objectively the sexiest letter. Not only is its uppercase symbol, Q, reminiscent of sexual acts but its lower case symbol, q, is just a b rotated 90 degrees. What word starts with b? That’s right, boobs. Checkmate.

Post Author: tucollegian

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