Fascinated with 11/11/11? What’s in a Number? Asks Wake Forest University Professor

Released: 11/4/2011 11:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Wake Forest University
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CONTACT: Stephanie Skordas, 336-758- 3826, skordas@wfu.edu

Newswise — (Winston-Salem, N.C. -- November 4, 2011) November 11, 2011 might hold special significance for some, since the date can also be written 11/11/11. When the calendar and its numbers align, a Wake Forest University professor says some people try to ascribe some sort of mystical significance.

Eric Carlson, a physics professor at Wake Forest University looks into numerology as a hobby. Here’s his take:

What makes 11/11/11 so interesting?
• The repetition. Our brains are just pattern matching machines, so we tend to notice patterns like that. If you happen to glance at the clock and it’s 11:11, you will remember that – these patterns stick in our minds. But I don’t think there is any mystical significance to it.

Are numbers lucky?
• We live in a society that is dominated by numbers, and this digital age gives us PINS, phone numbers, passwords and other numbers to remember, which may make us more interested in numbers as a society.
• What one person calls a lucky number might be an unlucky number for someone else. Take the number 13 – some people say it’s an unlucky number because 13 was the number of people present at the Last Supper before Jesus’ death. On the other hand, if you get a baker’s dozen (13) you consider it a good deal.

Carlson says no matter what, 11/11/11 should be a good day for Americans because it is a Friday – hailed by workers, and Veteran’s Day which gives us the opportunity to thank and remember the troops who have sacrificed to keep the country safe.

About Wake Forest University:
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich its intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at www.wfu.edu.


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