# Sprime Time

All fans of recreational math love palindromic numbers. It’s mandatory, man. 101, 727, 532235, 8810188, 1367755971795577631 — I love ’em! But where can you go after palindromes? Well, you can go to palindromes in a higher dimension. Numbers like 101, 727, 532235 and 8810188 are 1-d palindromes. That is, they’re palindromic in one dimension: backwards and forwards. But numbers like 181818189 and 646464640 aren’t palindromic in one dimension. They’re palindromic in two dimensions:

1 8 1
8 9 8
1 8 1

n=181818189

6 4 6
4 0 4
6 4 6

n=646464640

They’re 2-d palindromes or spiral numbers, that is, numbers that are symmetrical when written as a spiral. You start with the first digit on the top left, then spiral inwards to the center, like this for a 9-digit spiral (9 = 3×3):

And this for a 36-digit spiral (36 = 6×6):

Spiral numbers are easy to construct, because you can reflect and rotate the numbers in one triangular slice of the spiral to find all the others:

You could say that the seed for the spiral number above is 7591310652, because you can write that number in descending lines, left-to-right, as a triangle.

Here are some palindromic numbers with nine digits in base 3 — as you can see, some are both palindromic numbers and spiral numbers. That is, some are palindromic in both one and two dimensions:

1  0  1

0  1  0

1  0  1

n=101010101

1  0  1

0  2  0

1  0  1

n=101010102

1  1  1

1  0  1

1  1  1

n=111111110

1  1  1

1  1  1

1  1  1

n=111111111

2  0  2

0  1  0

2  0  2

n=202020201

2  0  2

0  2  0

2  0  2

n=202020202

2  2  2

2  1  2

2  2  2

n=222222221

2  2  2

2  2  2

2  2  2

n=222222222

But palindromic primes are even better than ordinary palindromes. Here are a few 1-d palindromic primes in base 10:

101
151
73037
7935397
97356765379
1091544334334451901
1367755971795577631
70707270707
39859395893
9212129
7436347
166000661
313
929

And after 1-d palindromic primes, you can go to 2-d palindromic primes. That is, to spiral primes or sprimes — primes that are symmetrical when written as a spiral:

3 6 3
6 7 6
3 6 3

n=363636367 (prime)
seed=367 (see definition above)

9 1 9
1 3 1
9 1 9

n=919191913 (prime)
seed=913

3 7 8 6 3 6 8 7 3
7 9 1 8 9 8 1 9 7
8 1 9 0 9 0 9 1 8
6 8 0 5 5 5 0 8 6
3 9 9 5 7 5 9 9 3
6 8 0 5 5 5 0 8 6
8 1 9 0 9 0 9 1 8
7 9 1 8 9 8 1 9 7
3 7 8 6 3 6 8 7 3

n=378636873786368737863687378636879189819189819189819189819090909090909090555555557 (prime)
seed=378639189909557 (l=15)

And why stop with spiral numbers — and sprimes — in two dimensions? 363636367 is a 2-sprime, being palindromic in two dimensions. But the digits of a number could be written to form a symmetrical cube in three, four, five and more dimensions. So I assume that there are 3-sprimes, 4-sprimes, 5-sprimes and more out there. Watch this space.

# Holey Trimmetry

Symmetry arising from symmetry isn’t surprising. But what about symmetry arising from asymmetry? You can find both among the rep-tiles, which are geometrical shapes that can be completely replaced by smaller copies of themselves. A square is a symmetrical rep-tile. It can be replaced by nine smaller copies of itself:

Rep-9 Square

If you trim the copies so that only five are left, you have a symmetrical seed for a symmetrical fractal:

Fractal cross stage #1

Fractal cross #2

Fractal cross #3

Fractal cross #4

Fractal cross #5

Fractal cross #6

Fractal cross (animated)

Fractal cross (static)

If you trim the copies so that six are left, you have another symmetrical seed for a symmetrical fractal:

Fractal Hex-Ring #1

Fractal Hex-Ring #2

Fractal Hex-Ring #3

Fractal Hex-Ring #4

Fractal Hex-Ring #5

Fractal Hex-Ring #6

Fractal Hex-Ring (animated)

Fractal Hex-Ring (static)

Now here’s an asymmetrical rep-tile, a nonomino or shape created from nine squares joined edge-to-edge:

Nonomino

It can be divided into twelve smaller copies of itself, like this:

Rep-12 Nonomino (discovered by Erich Friedman)

If you trim the copies so that only five are left, you have an asymmetrical seed for a familiar symmetrical fractal:

Fractal cross stage #1

Fractal cross #2

Fractal cross #3

Fractal cross #4

Fractal cross #5

Fractal cross #6

Fractal cross (animated)

Fractal cross (static)

If you trim the copies so that six are left, you have an asymmetrical seed for another familiar symmetrical fractal:

Fractal Hex-Ring #1

Fractal Hex-Ring #2

Fractal Hex-Ring #3

Fractal Hex-Ring #4

Fractal Hex-Ring #5

Fractal Hex-Ring (animated)

Fractal Hex-Ring (static)

Elsewhere other-available:

# Square on a Three String

222 A.D. was the year in which the Emperor Heliogabalus was assassinated by his own soldiers. Exactly 1666 years later, the Anglo-Dutch classicist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema exhibited his painting The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888). I suggested in “Roses Are Golden” that Alma-Tadema must have chosen the year as deliberately as he chose the dimensions of his canvas, which, at 52″ x 84 1/8“, is an excellent approximation to the golden ratio.

But did Alma-Tadema know that lines at 0º and 222º divide a circle in the golden ratio? He could easily have done, just as he could easily have known that 222 precedes the 48th prime, 223. But it is highly unlikely that he knew that 223 yields a magic square whose columns, rows and diagonals all sum to 222. To create the square, simply list the 222 multiples of the reciprocal 1/223 in base 3, or ternary. The digits of the reciprocal repeat after exactly 222 digits and its multiples begin and end like this:

001/223 = 0.00001002102101021212111012022211122022... in base 3
002/223 = 0.00002011211202120201222101122200021121...
003/223 = 0.00010021021010212121110120222111220221...
004/223 = 0.00011100200112011110221210022100120020...
005/223 = 0.00012110002220110100102222122012012120...

[...]

218/223 = 0.22210112220002112122120000100210210102... in base 3
219/223 = 0.22211122022110211112001012200122102202...
220/223 = 0.22212201201212010101112102000111002001...
221/223 = 0.22220211011020102021000121100022201101...
222/223 = 0.22221220120121201010111210200011100200...

Each column, row and diagonal of ternary digits sums to 222. Here is the full n/223 square represented with 0s in grey, 1s in white and 2s in red:

(Click for larger)

It isn’t difficult to see that the white squares are mirror-symmetrical on a horizontal axis. Here is the symmetrical pattern rotated by 90º:

(Click for larger)

But why should the 1s be symmetrical? This isn’t something special to 1/223, because it happens with prime reciprocals like 1/7 too:

1/7 = 0.010212... in base 3
2/7 = 0.021201...
3/7 = 0.102120...
4/7 = 0.120102...
5/7 = 0.201021...
6/7 = 0.212010...

And you can notice something else: 0s mirror 2s and 2s mirror 0s. A related pattern appears in base 10:

1/7 = 0.142857...
2/7 = 0.285714...
3/7 = 0.428571...
4/7 = 0.571428...
5/7 = 0.714285...
6/7 = 0.857142...

The digit 1 in the decimal digits of n/7 corresponds to the digit 8 in the decimal digits of (7-n)/7; 4 corresponds to 5; 2 corresponds to 7; 8 corresponds to 1; 5 corresponds to 4; and 7 corresponds to 2. In short, if you’re given the digits d1 of n/7, you know the digits d2 of (n-7)/7 by the rule d2 = 9-d1.

Why does that happen? Examine these sums:

1/7 = 0.142857142857142857142857142857142857142857...
+6/7 = 0.857142857142857142857142857142857142857142...
7/7 = 0.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999... = 1.0

2/7 = 0.285714285714285714285714285714285714285714...
+5/7 = 0.714285714285714285714285714285714285714285...
7/7 = 0.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999... = 1.0

3/7 = 0.428571428571428571428571428571428571428571...
+4/7 = 0.571428571428571428571428571428571428571428...
7/7 = 0.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999... = 1.0

And here are the same sums in ternary (where the first seven integers are 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 20, 21):

1/21 = 0.010212010212010212010212010212010212010212...
+20/21 = 0.212010212010212010212010212010212010212010...
21/21 = 0.222222222222222222222222222222222222222222... = 1.0

2/21 = 0.021201021201021201021201021201021201021201...
+12/21 = 0.201021201021201021201021201021201021201021...
21/21 = 0.222222222222222222222222222222222222222222... = 1.0

10/21 = 0.102120102120102120102120102120102120102120...
+11/21 = 0.120102120102120102120102120102120102120102...
21/21 = 0.222222222222222222222222222222222222222222... = 1.0

Accordingly, in base b with the prime p, the digits d1 of n/p correspond to the digits (p-n)/p by the rule d2 = (b-1)-d1. This explains why the 1s mirror themselves in ternary: 1 = 2-1 = (3-1)-1. In base 5, the 2s mirror themselves by the rule 2 = 4-2 = (5-1) – 2. In all odd bases, some digit will mirror itself; in all even bases, no digit will. The mirror-digit will be equal to (b-1)/2, which is always an integer when b is odd, but never an integer when b is even.

Here are some more examples of the symmetrical patterns found in odd bases:

Patterns of 1s in 1/19 in base 3

Patterns of 6s in 1/19 in base 13

Patterns of 7s in 1/19 in base 15

Elsewhere other-posted:

Roses Are Golden — more on The Roses of Heliogabalus (1888)
Three Is The Key — more on the 1/223 square