Submission: Brainteasers for Phil Knight's birthday

By Aziz Inan | February 23, 2018 9:18pm
Photo by Virtual Falcon/Wikimedia Commons.

Phil Hampson Knight, born on February 24, 1938 in Portland, Oregon, is an American business magnate and philanthropist [1]. He is the co-founder and emeritus chairman of Nike, Inc., and previously served as chairman and CEO of the company. Early this year, Knight was ranked by Forbes as the 28th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $30 billion.

Knight earned a journalism degree from University of Oregon in 1959 and a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 1962.

This Saturday, Feb. 24, Knight will turn 80 years old and on this occasion, I constructed the following mathematical oddities as a birthday gift for him:

  1. The sum of the digits of Knight’s 80th birthday expressed as 2/24/2018 equals 19 and coincidentally, his full name, Philip Hampson Knight, has 19 letters.
  2. Additionally, if Knight’s birth year 1938 is split in the middle as 19 and 38, 38 is twice 19.
  3. Further, Knight’s birth year 1938 equals 19 times 102 where the reverse of 102, namely 201, equals three times 67 where 67 is the 19th prime number. Also, the reverse of 67, namely 76, equals four times 19.
  4. If numbers one to 26 are assigned to the letters of the English alphabet in alphabetical order, the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Phil Knight equals 114 and 114 is six times 19.
  5. Number 114 also equals twice the sum of 19 and 38 which are the leftmost and rightmost halves of 1938, Knight’s year of birth.
  6. Moreover, 1938 equals 17 times 114 (Phil Knight).
  7. Knight turns 80 in 2018 where the sum of the leftmost and rightmost halves of 2018 equals twice 19.
  8. Knight was born in 1938 on 224 (February 24) and the reverse of 224, namely 422, equals 2 times 211 where these two prime factors differ by 11 times 19.
  9. Knight’s full name Philip Hampson Knight consists of 6, 7, and 6 letters and these three digits put side by side makes 676 which equals 26 squared where 26 equals the sum of 2 and 24, the month and day numbers of Knight’s birthday.
  10. Furthermore, Knight’s birthday number in any year 20AB in this century can be simply calculated by summing the reverse of 26, namely 62, with the rightmost two digits of 20AB, that is, 10A+B.
  11. Lastly, if Knight’s birthday 2/24/1938 is split into 224 and 1938, three times the sum of 224 and its reverse, namely 422, yields 1938(!).

Happy 80th birthday, Phil Knight!

[1] Phil Knight, Wikipedia

Aziz Inan is currently a professor of electrical engineering teaching in the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering at University of Portland. He can be reached at