125 Stanford Stories

NO. 86
Stanford Today

Some Leland Jr. math brainteasers

An alumnus honors Nerd Nation’s namesake with numerical meditations on his life

Aziz İnan, MS ’80, PhD ’83, sees mathematical patterns in the everyday.

“I play with ages, dates, ID numbers, building numbers, ZIP Code numbers, everything,” İnan, a professor of  electrical engineering at the University of Portland, told Stanford magazine.

As a loyal Stanford alumnus, İnan could not let the university’s 125th anniversary pass without honoring it with his particular attention.

To mark the special occasion, İnan constructed the following fun numerical brainteasers in memory of Leland Stanford Jr.:

1. If numbers 1 to 26 are assigned to the letters of the English alphabet as A being 1, B being 2, C being 3, etc., the numbers assigned to the letters of “Leland Stanford” add up to 145, which, interpreted as 14/5, coincides with Leland Jr.’s birth date, 14 May.

2. Stanford University’s 100th birthday was also numerically special for another reason: The 100th prime number is 541, and its reverse, namely 145, is Leland Jr.’s birth date, 14/5.

3. Leland Jr.’s birth date, May 14, expressed as 5/14 or simply as 514 equals 2 times 257, where prime factors 2 and 257 add up to 259. Coincidentally, the numbers assigned to the letters of “Stanford University” also add up to 259.

4. The year Stanford University was founded – 1885 – equals 13 times 145, where 145 is Leland Jr.’s birth date, 14 May. Moreover, the 13th prime number is 41, which is the reverse of 14, the date of Leland Jr.’s birth. Additionally, the digits of 41 add up to 5, yielding the birth month number of Leland Jr. Also, 5 times 13 is 65, where the 65th prime number is 313, representing March 13, the day Leland Jr. died.

5. The sum of the prime factors of 1885, the year Stanford University was founded, namely 5, 13 and 29, equals 47, which is the 15th prime number, where 15 signifies the age at which Leland Jr. died. Also, Stanford opened with 15 faculty members in 1891.

6. The sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Leland Stanford Junior University equals 394, with prime factors 2 and 197, where 2 and 197, put side by side, yield 2197, which equals the sum of 313 and 1884, which together represent 3131884, the day Leland Jr. died. Also, note that 2197 equals cube of 13, where 13 is the day of Leland Jr.’s death. Furthermore, as stated above, 13 times 145 (14 May) yields 1885 and so on.

Aziz İnan, MS '80, PhD '83, brainteaser buff
Aziz İnan, MS ’80, PhD ’83, brainteaser buff

7. The product of the digits of 3131884 equals square of 48, where 48 coincides with the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of “Leland.”

8. Stanford University opened 2758 days after Leland Jr.’s death, where 2758 equals 7 times 394, where 7 represents the difference between 1884 (the year Leland Jr. died) and 1891 (the year Stanford opened) and 394 represents “Leland Stanford Junior University.”

9. This year’s special anniversary number 125 equals the product of the digits of 555, the number of students enrolled at Stanford during its opening year. Further, the sum of the digits of 555 yields 15, which coincides with Leland Jr.’s age when he died. Additionally, Stanford opened with 15 faculty members in 1891.

10. Stanford University opened 125 years ago on 1 October. Expressed as 110, it equals twice 55, where the 55th prime number is 257 and twice 257 yields 514, that is, Leland Jr.’s birth date, May 14.

11. Lastly, the numbers assigned to the even-numbered letters of Leland, put side by side, yield Leland Jr.’s birth date, 514. Moreover, the product of the numbers assigned to the odd-numbered letters of “Leland” result in 2016, the 125th anniversary year of Stanford University!