Opinion: Engineering professor shares brainteasers in memory of Elie Wiesel

By Aziz Inan | October 3, 2016 7:30pm

Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel, born on Sept. 30, 1928 in Sighet, Romania and died on July 2, 2016 in Manhattan, New York. He was a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor [1].

Wiesel was one of the few survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp and his death about three months ago this year was a huge loss. If Wiesel was still alive today, he would have turned 88. I constructed the following numerical birthday brainteasers in his memory:

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 sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Elie Wiesel equals 104 and 104 expressed in base-12 numeral system is 88, Wiesel’s new age. Further, the prime factors of 104, namely 2 and 13, add up to 15, Wiesel’s age when he and his family were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

2. Wiesel died at age 87 where the digits of 87 add up to 15 too.

3. The 87th prime number is 449 which coincides with the reverse of the rightmost three digits of 1944, the year when Wiesel and his family were sent to Auschwitz.

4. If July 2, the day Wiesel died this year, is represented by 72, twice 72 is 144 which equals the product of the digits of 1944. Additionally, the reverse of 144, namely 441, equals the square of 21 where the 21st prime number is 73 which coincides with the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Wiesel. (Also, note that the product of the digits of 73 yield back 21.)

5. The prime factors of Wiesel’s birth year 1928, namely 2 and 241, differ by 239 and 239 is the 52nd prime number where twice 52 is 104 (Elie Wiesel).

6. The reverse of Wiesel’s birth year, namely 8291, is the 1040th prime number where 1040 equals ten times 104 (Elie Wiesel).

7. The odd-numbered digits of Wiesel’s full birthday 09/30/1928 is 0312 which equals three times 104 (Elie Wiesel).

8. The difference between 9 and 30, the month and day numbers of Wiesel’s birthday, equals 21 and again, the 21st prime number is 73 (Wiesel). Further, the sum of 9 and 30 equals 39 which is three times 13 where 13 is the reverse of 31 (Elie).

9. If 7/2/2016, the day Wiesel died, is split into 72, 20, and 16, 72 equals twice the sum of 20 and 16. Moreover, 2016 equals 72 times 28 where twice the difference of these two numbers yields Wiesel’s new age, 88.

10. Wiesel’s birth date 30 September expressed as 309 equals three times 103 where 103 is the 27th prime number and 27 represents 2 July, the day Wiesel died this year.

11. Lastly, Wiesel’s 111th palindrome-number birthday will occur on palindrome date 9/30/2039.

Happy 88th birthday Elie Wiesel and I hope you rest in peace.

[1] Elie Wiesel, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel

Aziz Inan is a professor of electrical engineering in the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering and can be reached at ainan@up.edu.