Sumbertime Views

Like 666 (see Revelation 13:18), 153 (see John 21:11) appears in the Bible. And perhaps for the same reason: because it is the sum of successive integers. 153 = 1+2+3+…+17 = Σ(17), just as 666 = Σ(36). So both numbers are sum-numbers or sumbers. But 153 has other interesting properties, including one that can’t have been known in Biblical times, because numbers weren’t represented in the right way. It’s also the sum of the cubes of its digits: 153 = 1^3 + 5^3 + 3^3 = 1 + 125 + 27. So 153 is a cube-sumber or 3-sumber. The other 3-sumbers are 370, 371 and 407. There are 4-sumbers too, like 1,634 = 1^4 + 6^4 + 3^4 + 4^4, and 5-sumbers, like 194,979 = 1^5 + 9^5 + 4^5 + 9^5 + 7^5 + 9^5, and 6-sumbers, like 548,834 = 5^6 + 4^6 + 8^6 + 8^6 + 3^6 + 4^6.

But there are no 2-sumbers, or numbers that are the sum of the squares of their digits. It doesn’t take long to confirm this, because numbers above a certain size can’t be 2-sumbers. 9^2 + 9^2 = 162, but 9^2 + 9^2 + 9^2 = 243. So 2-sumbers can’t exist above 99 and if you search that high you’ll find that they don’t exist at all. At least not in this house, but they do exist in the houses next door. Base 10 yields nothing, so what about base 9?

4^2 + 5^2 = 45[9] = 41[10]
5^2 + 5^2 = 55[9] = 50

And base 11?

5^2 + 6^2 = 56[11] = 61[10]
6^2 + 6^2 = 66[11] = 72

This happens because odd bases always yield a pair of 2-sumbers whose second digit is one more than half the base and whose first digit is the same or one less. See above (and the appendix). Such a pair is found among the 14 sumbers of base 47, which is the best total till base 157 and its 22 sumbers. Here are the 2-sumbers for base 47:

2^2 + 10^2 = 104
3^2 + 12^2 = 153
5^2 + 15^2 = 250
9^2 + 19^2 = 442
12^2 + 21^2 = 585
14^2 + 22^2 = 680
23^2 + 24^2 = 1,105
24^2 + 24^2 = 1,152
33^2 + 22^2 = 1,573
35^2 + 21^2 = 1,666
38^2 + 19^2 = 1,805
42^2 + 15^2 = 1,989
44^2 + 12^2 = 2,080
45^2 + 10^2 = 2,125

As the progressive records for 2-sumber-totals are set, subsequent bases seem to either match or surpass them, except in three cases below base 450:

2 in base 5
4 in base 7
6 in base 13
10 in base 43
14 in base 47
22 in base 157
8 in base 182*
16 in base 268*
30 in base 307
18 in base 443*

Totals for sums-of–squares in bases 4 to 450 (click for larger image)

Appendix: Odd Bases and 2-sumbers

Take an even number and half of that even number: say 12 and 6. 12 x 6 = 11 x 6 + 6. Further, 12 x 6 = 2 x 6 x 6 = 2 x 6^2 = 6^2 + 6^2. Accordingly, 66[11] = 6 x 11 + 6 = 12 x 6 = 6^2 + 6^2. So 66 in base 11 is a 2-sumber. Similar reasoning applies to every other odd base except base-3 [update: wrong!]. Now, take 12 x 5 = 2 x 6 x 5 = 2 x (5×5 + 5) = 5^2+5 + 5^5+5 = 5^5 + 5^5+2×5. Further, 5^5+2×5 = (5+1)(5+1) – 1 = 6^2 – 1. Accordingly, 56[11] = 11×5 + 6 = 12×5 + 1 = 5^2 + 6^2. Again, similar reasoning applies to every other odd base except base-3 [update: no — 1^2 + 2^2 = 12[3] = 5; 2^2 + 2^2 = 22[3] = 8]. This means that every odd base b, except base-3, will supply a pair of 2-sumbers with digits [d-1][d] and [d][d], where d = (b + 1) / 2.

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