Forty Two

The Answer to the Ultimate Question regarding Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Also: The street address of Stavro Mueller Beta (sometimes mispronounced "Stavromula Beta"), or just Stavro's Beta, a night club, somewhere on a planet that has been categorized as "Mostly Harmless."
Also a good metanumber for illustration purposes: We have a table here, with customer IDs 42, 86, and 99.

86 is a slang term for something to be thrown away, and also the code number for Maxwell Smart. 99 was his sidekick and later spouse.
One? everything in the Universe is One

Two? the duality of the life, YingAndYang, GoodAndEvil

Three? doing, thinking, feeling; the good, the true, the beautiful

Seven? SevenDeadlySins, SevenHeavenlyVirtues, SevenPlusOrMinusTwo

1 x 2 x 3 x 7 = 42

Two, YingAndYang as above.

2 digits: 1: 4=2^2=2 x 2=2 + 2 2: 2 Everything thus centering around 2.

Six - the number of man

Nine - three times the trinity

Thirteen - Remarkably bad luck, MurphysLaw

6 x 9 = 42 in base 13

The sum of everything in the universe is 1 and it came from 0

All your thoughts, acts and feelings make you 1 and you came from 0

Past, future, present all are 1 and we exist when time = 0

101010 = 42

The sum of all the pips on a pair of 6-sided dice = 42

Deep thought provided the answer 42. Here are some glimpses of the question, a more complete understanding of the question is available by looking to the Earth. (you have to filter out the interference from the hairdressers et al, but the questions are here on this planet)
FoucaultsPendulum, UmbertoEcos novel about superstition, which has a fairly interesting discussion of numerology somewhere in its pages.
A surrealist's answer to an existentialist's question.
My father often says reading the work of the scientist himself was often more understandable than reading about it in a text book. So, in my teens, I read Einstein's little book, "The Theory of Special Relativity". I was amazed that his simple mathematical trick of equating energy in Newton's equations to energy in Maxwell's equations of light yielded e=mc^2! The fact that nature actually obeyed that trick seemed incomprehensible.

In the appendix, he assume 6 degrees of freedom and employs simple algebra to simplify his equations over a couple pages, I read with interest as all the units canceled nicely, and presto! 42, a dimensionless quantity resulted! To this day I have no idea what the significance of that result is. He went on to assume 12 degrees of freedom, I think, and simplified over several more pages and came up with another dimentionless number, 136 or something. A few years later "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe"... I laughed myself silly when the answer came out to 42, it seemed too much of a coincidence. -- JimScarver
Hi Jim: I noticed that you're a fan of Adams (re "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe"). The magic answer (number 42) to all questions regarding Life etc. is not randomly chosen, as Adams mentions in his fan-group posting 11nov93, but it has a deep background (;-)

Namely, FermatsLastTheorem on the sum of two p-th powers not being a p-th power for primes p >2 (Pythagoras cannot be generalized beyond squares;-( does have a solution in residues: x^p + y^p = z^p (mod p^k) for some prime exponents p (any k >1), in fact at least for primes of form p = 6m +1.

The smallest prime this occurs is p=7, k=2 and the three p-th powers (hence x, y, z) are coprime to p. There are p(p-1) residues coprime to p (mod p^2), forming a cyclic group of that order, which equals 42 in case p=7... See?

In fact the solutions are equivalent to the cubic roots of Unity: a + a^2 = -1, with a^3 = 1 (mod p^2). So the age-old 'Trinity' concept (thesis, anti-thesis --> synthesis) is also there!

Math = the Art of separating Necessity and Co´ncidence

Life = Making the Best of Necessity, using Co´ncidence.

-- Ciao, NicoBenschop -- - (6june2004)
Interesting, but how did Adams get to know this?
NB: By intu´tion, of course (for sensitive people like Adams, there are no co´ncidences;-)
Fortytwo is also the last name of the #1 DouglasAdams superfan Geoff Fortytwo (

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