‘Let’s have fun with number twenty two’


SOME numbers are interesting. You may have noticed how the number zero presented by the symbol ‘0’ is interesting when operating on numbers. Another number is twenty two represented numerically as ‘22’.

I chose the number 22 after what happened in Manchester City, United Kingdom quite recently. The whole world received the sad news about a bomb attack that exploded at Manchester City arena where thousands of people were watching a concert.

That episode caused deaths and left a lot of people injured. In that tragedy 22 comes up three times;: First, the suicide bomber was 22 years old. Second, the event happened on 22nd of May.

Third, the event killed 22 people. The first question one may be interested to ask is why 22? Could this have been planned? The first and second could have been planned by the suicide bomber, but the third leaves a lot to be desired.

We send our condolence to the bereaved and the British Government. As the news poured in, I was sitting with two friends named Juma and John. I immediately said to them, “Twenty two is an interesting number.”

Before I went on, Juma interrupted and said. “He is a pi (π) man. He wants to tell us about 22 over 7. ”You are right Juma,” I told him. “Pi is approximately equal to 22 over 7.

Why the experts chose 22 is yet to be known. Maybe history has the answer.” John who was listening attentively chipped in and said, ”You have always told us that Pi Day is on 14th March which was created from the value of π=3.14.

Why didn’t they create the day using 22 over 7 instead? It would have been more interesting according to your argument,” “Yes,” I said. “It has been used to create ‘Pi approximation Day’ which is celebrated on 22nd July where 7 represents the 7th month of the calendar year and 22 is the 22nd day.”

It is worth noting that when Larry Shaw Physics teacher from San Francisco created ‘PI DAY’ from 3.14 to be 14th March, historians said the date coincided with the birthday for Mr Albert Einstein. Albert Einstein is a great scientist who lived in the nineteenth century. The birthdays are now celebrated concurrently.

Twenty two is also involved here indirectly because 3.14 is also approximately equal to 22 over 7. The number 22 is also found in the British Imperial Units which use yards, miles, inches and feet for measuring lengths and distances.

The metric System of units uses metres, kilometres, centimetres and millimetres. Twenty two yards in the Imperial system equals a unit called chain. Why 22 yards were chosen to form the chain has probably an explanation from the British.

It is also worth finding out whether the mile was established before the chain. It is known that one mile has 1,760 yards which is 80 chains. Some decades ago athletics was using the Imperial system track events included 220 yards (22x10) yards, 440 yards (22x20 yards), 880 yards (22x40 yards) and the mile (22x80 yards).

Today, athletics is using the metric system of units. In Kiswahili , the words ‘twende tu’ are pronounced nearly as ‘twenty two’. The following is an interesting story about two people who could not communicate properly because of language barer: An Englishman was driving a car and had given a Swahili man a ride to show him a certain site far away.

The Englishman did not know how to speak Kiswahili and the Swahili man could not speak English. After travelling some distance, the English man asked, “How many miles are left?”The Swahili man replied, ”Twende tu.”

The Englishman noted the mileage reading on the meter gauge. He then drove 22 miles. He looked around and saw no sight of the site. He asked angrily, “How many miles are left?” The Swahili man replied, “Twende tu.”

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