In 1964, two students at California’s Pomona College hypothesized that the number 47 appears with unusual frequency in the world. They began to amass examples, starting a campus tradition that continues to this day:
- The Declaration of Independence consists of 47 sentences.
- The New Testament credits Jesus with 47 miracles.
- Tolstoy’s novel The Kreutzer Sonata is named after Beethoven’s Opus 47.
- Pancho Villa was killed by a barrage of 47 bullets.
- The Pythagorean Theorem is Proposition 47 of Euclid’s Elements.
- The tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are located 47 degrees apart.
- Cesar proclaimed “Veni, vidi, vici” in 47 B.C.
Now the hypothesis has produced its own reality: Pomona graduate Joe Menosky became a writer for Star Trek and helped to build a universe where 47 appears oddly often:
- The Enterprise stops at Sub-Space Relay Station 47, a character shrinks to 47 centimeters, and the crew discovers element 247.
- On Voyager, the emergency medical holographic channel is 47.
- On Star Trek: Generations, Scotty beams up 47 El-Aurians before their ship is destroyed.
- According to the 2009 film, the Enterprise was built in Sector 47 of the Riverside Shipyards, and Nero’s ship, the Narada, is said to have destroyed 47 Klingon ships.
Trek producer Brannon Braga has confirmed that Voyager‘s Harry Kim lives in Apartment 4-G because G is the seventh letter in the alphabet.