Thursday, July 14, 2011

Palindromia (Backwards = Forwards)

Martin Gardner in the US Navy, 1942

I am still thoroughly enjoying Gardner's book, The Ambidextrous Universe. Most of what follows it from there:

Palindromes are words, letters, numbers, even stories, that are listed the same way backward as forwards.

In letters, perhaps the best known is:

Madam, I'm Adam.

Then there's:

A man, a plan, a canal - Panama !


Straw? No, too stupid a fad. I put soot on warts.

We can palindrome with words alone, such as:

Is is odd how asymmetrical is "symmetry"? Symmetry is asymmetrical, how odd it is.

You can cage a swallow, can't you, but you can't swallow a cage, can you?

Girl, bathing on Bikini, eyeing boy, finds boy eyeing bikini on bathing girl.

The lines in a poem can also be palindromic, as in Lindon's:

As I was passing near the jail
I met a man, but hurried by.
His face was ghastly, grimly pale.
He had a gun. I wondered why
He had a gun? I wondered ... why?
His face was ghastly! Grimly pale,
I met a man, but hurried by,
As I was passing near the jail.

What follows is interesting, it is a very-very-very short Science Fiction story, in which the words of the story are the same both forward and reverse, by Frederic Brown:


Professor Jones had been working on time theory for many years.

"And I have found the key equation," he told his daughter one day. "Time is a field. This machine I have made can manipulate, even reverse that field."

Pushing a button as he spoke, he said, "This should make time run backward run time make should this," said he, spoke he as button a pushing.

"Field that, reverse even, manipulate can made have I machine this. Field a is time." Day one daughter his told he, "Equation key the found have I and."

Years many for theory time on working been had Jones Professor.


I do believe however that Dmitri Martin (American comedian and ernstwhile contributor to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), has the record, at 244 words (and it is palindromic in letters) :

"Dammit I’m Mad"
Demetri Martin

Dammit I’m mad.
Evil is a deed as I live.
God, am I reviled? I rise, my bed on a sun, I melt.
To be not one man emanating is sad. I piss.
Alas, it is so late. Who stops to help?
Man, it is hot. I’m in it. I tell.
I am not a devil. I level “Mad Dog”.
Ah, say burning is, as a deified gulp,
In my halo of a mired rum tin.
I erase many men. Oh, to be man, a sin.
Is evil in a clam? In a trap?
No. It is open. On it I was stuck.
Rats peed on hope. Elsewhere dips a web.
Be still if I fill its ebb.
Ew, a spider… eh?
We sleep. Oh no!
Deep, stark cuts saw it in one position.
Part animal, can I live? Sin is a name.
Both, one… my names are in it.
Murder? I’m a fool.
A hymn I plug, deified as a sign in ruby ash,
A Goddam level I lived at.
On mail let it in. I’m it.
Oh, sit in ample hot spots. Oh wet!
A loss it is alas (sip). I’d assign it a name.
Name not one bottle minus an ode by me:
“Sir, I deliver. I’m a dog”
Evil is a deed as I live.
Dammit I’m mad.
Numbers can also be palindromic, for example the last yearly ones were 2002, 1991, and 1881.

What about prime numbers? Yes there are palindromic primes. One oddity, of the first 47 palindromic prime numbers, 24 of them come in pairs separated by only the middle digit, by 1. they are:



Norman Gridgeman noticed the above relationship. 


Ulla said...

And chromosomes.

Steven Colyer said...

What, Ulla? Please explain.

Ulla said...

Look as instance

We propose that the PATRR adopts a cruciform structure in male meiotic cells, creating genomic instability...
Restriction enzymes recognize a specific sequence of nucleotides and produce a double-stranded cut in the DNA. While recognition sequences vary widely, with lengths between 4 and 8 nucleotides, many of them are palindromic, which correspond to nitrogenous base sequences between complementary strands, which, when read from the 5' to 3' direction, are identical sequences.

Hairpin loops etc. This is actually quite interesting. I have mentioned in my blog