The pattern collector

The Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences outgrows its creator

By Julie Rehmeyer, 09:46 AM August 6, 2010

When Neil Sloane was a young man, he started collecting objects he found beautiful. A common enough preoccupation perhaps, except for the particular objects Sloane chose: number sequences.

He has classical sequences that have captivated mathematicians for millennia, like 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13…, the prime numbers. He has tricky sequences like 1, 1, 2, 5, 14, 38, 120, 353…, the numbers of different ways of folding ever-longer strips of postage stamps. He has dull yet fundamental sequences like...

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