Feller 17 

At http://cosmicvariance.com/2007/01/30/the-power-of-17/ John said "... if you ask people to choose a random number between 1 and 20, inclusive ... there is a big excess at 17...".

I commented that "... William Feller (his wikipedia entry has a link to a St. Andrews biography) was born in Zagreb in 1906, got his Ph.D at Gottingen (studying under Hilbert and Courant) in 1926, and moved to Princeton in 1950, where he told his students two things that stand out in my memory:

At http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/ Dave Munger said "... I posted a poll asking readers to simply pick a number between 1 and 20 ... Take a look at the chart:

...[ Jim commented ]... "... True story: A friend teaching a math class years ago had derived some equation and told the class to pick a value for "x" and calculate the result. "What value" someone asked. ... "Seventeen," my friend answered. "Why seventeen?" came the inevitable query. His reply...


...[ JL Wallace commented ]... "... 17 is a Full Reptend Prime, as is 7 which is weird that those two got more hits than any other in the ... chart. ...". ...".


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