It is the number of
of all simple and oriented
on 4 vertices. In other words, it is the number of all possible outcomes (up to isomorphism) of a tournament consisting of 4 teams where the game between any pair of teams results in three possible outcomes: the first team wins, the second team wins, or there is a draw. The group stage of the FIFA World cup is a good example.
It is a
Consequently, 42 is the number of
of a set of five elements, the number of triangulations of a
, the number of rooted ordered binary
with six leaves, the number of ways in which five pairs of nested parentheses can be arranged, etc.
Given 27 same-size cubes whose nominal values progress from 1 to 27, a 3 × 3 × 3
can be constructed such that every row, column, and corridor, and every diagonal passing through the center, is composed of 3 numbers whose sum of values is 42.
42 is the only known value that is the number of sets of four distinct positive integers
, each less than the value itself, such that
are each multiples of the value. Whether there are other values remains an open question.
42 is the resulting number of the original
(4937775 = 3 × 5 × 5 × 65837): Both the sum of its digits (4 + 9 + 3 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 5) and the sum of the digits in its prime factorization (3 + 5 + 5 + (6 + 5 + 8 + 3 + 7)) result in 42.
The angle rounded to whole degrees for which a
appears (the critical angle).
In 1966, mathematician Paul Cooper theorized that the fastest, most efficient way to travel across continents would be to bore a straight hollow tube directly through the
, connecting a set of
, remove the air from the tube and fall through.
The first half of the journey consists of free-fall acceleration, while the second half consists of an exactly equal deceleration. The time for such a journey works out to be 42 minutes. Even if the tube does not pass through the exact center of the Earth, the time for a journey powered entirely by gravity (known as a
) always works out to be 42 minutes, so long as the tube remains friction-free, as while the force of gravity would be lessened, the distance traveled is reduced at an equal rate.
(The same idea was proposed, without calculation by
in 1893 in
Sylvie and Bruno Concluded
) Now we know that is not true, and it only would take about
As determined by the Babylonians, in 79 years Mars orbits the Sun almost exactly 42 times.
In Japanese culture, the number 42 is considered unlucky because the numerals when pronounced separately—
(four two)—sound like the word "
like a Latin word "
, there are 42 questions asked of persons making their journey through Death.
, a female personification, considered to be both maternal and a delivering force, is an Ancient Egyptian personification of physical and moral law, order, and truth. In the judgment scene described in the Egyptian and the Book of Pass (the
Book of the Dead
, which evolved from the
), there are 42 questions personifying the analysis of
. If the departed reasonably can give answers to the 42 questions, they have the potential to either be reincarnate, or if completely successful, reach the ultimate goal of becoming a Star, whereon, they can continue to give Light, and fuel Universal growth.
42 is the number with which God creates the Universe in
. In Kabbalah, the most significant name is that of the En Sof (also known as "
", "Infinite" or "Endless"), who is above the Sefirot (sometimes spelled "
The Forty-Two-Lettered Name contains four combined names which are spelled in Hebrew letters (spelled in letters = 42 letters), which is the name of Azilut (or "
" "Emanation"). While there are obvious links between the Forty-Two Lettered Name of the Babylonian Talmud and the Kabbalah's Forty-Two Lettered Name, they are probably not identical because of the Kabbalah's emphasis on numbers. The Kabbalah also contains a Forty-Five Lettered Name and a Seventy-Two Lettered Name.
, the number (in the
, compiled 375 AD to 499 AD) of the "Forty-Two Lettered Name" ascribed to God. Rab (or Rabhs), a 3rd-century source in the Talmud stated "The Forty-Two Lettered Name is entrusted only to him who is pious, meek, middle-aged, free from bad temper, sober, and not insistent on his rights". [Source:
71a, Translated by Rabbi Dr. I. Epstein].
felt that the original Talmudic Forty-Two Lettered Name was perhaps composed of several combined divine names [Maimonides "Moreh"]. The apparently unpronouncable
provides the backdrop from the Twelve-Lettered Name and the Forty-Two Lettered Name of the Talmud.
is also known as the "42-line Bible", as the book contained 42 lines per page.
The 2011 book
42: Douglas Adams' Amazingly Accurate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything
examines Adams' choice of the number 42, and contains a compendium of some instances of the number in science, popular culture, and humour.
Alice's attempts at multiplication (chapter two of
Alice in Wonderland
) work if one uses base 18 to write the first answer, and increases the base by threes to 21, 24, etc. (the answers working up to 4 × 12 = "19" in base 39), but "breaks" precisely when one attempts the answer to 4 × 13 in base 42, leading Alice to declare "oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate!"
Rule Forty-two in
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
("All persons more than a mile high to leave the court").
The White Queen announces her age as "one hundred and one, five months and a day", which—if the best possible date is assumed for the action of
Through the Looking-Glass
(e.g., a date is chosen such that the rollover from February to March is excluded from what would otherwise be an imprecise measurement of "five months and a day")—gives a total of 37,044 days. If the Red Queen, as part of the same chess set, is regarded as the same age, their combined age is 74,088 days, or 42 × 42 × 42.
The architects of the
New York City
worked daily in the
where on "the twenty-fifth floor, one enormous drafting room contained forty-two identical drawing boards, each the size of a six-seat dining room table; another room harboured twelve more, and an additional fourteen stood just outside the principals' offices at the top of the circular iron staircase connecting 25 to 26".