The Mysterious and Amazing Number 23

by | May 16, 2022


My eldest daughter, Claire, turns 23 today. On one hand, it totally feels like 23 years have passed. Yet, her birth also seems like it just happened. The vagaries of time are interesting.

Claire hates to flip the page to a new age. When she turned four she cried because she was no longer three. While most kids celebrated turning 16, Claire was melancholy because of how old 16 sounded (but this was somewhat mitigated by 16 being her favorite number.) So, to help her maybe like being 23 a bit more, let’s dig into all the awesome things about the number 23.

1. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, which is where the genetic testing firm 23andMe got its name. Claire loves 23andMe. Each parent contributes 23 chromosomes to their children.

2. Twenty-Three of course is a prime number, which is pretty cool. But what is cooler is that it’s the first prime that is made up of consecutive digits. And it’s the first prime in the 20s.

3. Some people believe that 23 has mystical powers (such people are commonly known as 23rdians). John Nash, the Noble Prize-winning mathematician who was biographies in the film “A Beautiful Mind”, was obsessed with the number 23 and he published 23 scientific papers.

4. Supposedly, Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times.

5. Twenty-Three is a “happy number” which is a number that eventually reaches 1 when replaced by the sum of the square of each digit. The first few happy numbers are 1, 7, 10, 13, 19, 23, 28, 31, 32, 44, 49, 68, 70, 79, 82, 86, 91, 94, 97, 100, … Interested in the details of this? Here’s more.

6. A 23-sided shape is called an Icosakaitrigon.

7. It takes around 23 seconds for blood to circulate the body on average (of course it varies by person and what you are doing).

8. The fear of the number 23 is called Duotriophobia.

9. Oh, and it’s a dynamite song by the band Blonde Redhead

Hope this helps you Claire!


  1. Another interesting idea is the qualitative analysis, two represents duality in the origin of existence, or self reference of the creator.

    Three represents the creation of soul/spirit within the creation myth in numerology, when studying the Tetraktys as in Iamblichus’ records of study.

    If you sum the digital root to five then that represents the fractal nature of material extension according to the study of the Tetraktys.

    So, impulse of self reflection, creation of soul and fractal nature of physical reality.

  2. Happy Birthday Claire!
    You have three more happy days within only 10!!

    It’s once you hit 50 that you have to wait close to 20 years before you’ll get to a happy number again, so have a great and happy year!!

  3. I simply enjoyed this article – thank you and Happy Birthday to Claire!

  4. Its also the number worn by the best basketball player to ever stick his tongue out while dunking and forever changing and informing any spectator or competitor to said person’s offensive potency.

    Happy Birthday Claire from a dad of a 7 + 4 (turning 5 tomorrow) +1 year old.

    John – how’s your Thursday morning look now?

  5. You might want to look into the phrase “23 Skidoo” …a bit of earlier Americana


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