In today's installment of Pho Fax, we look back at Sir Isaac Newton. The inventor of calculus, dynamics, optics, and the salad spinner, he was also the Master of the Mint and Fellow of the Royal Society. Quite an accomplished guy. But what few know is that in spite of, or perhaps because of his deep involvement in mathematics, he had some curious quirks.
One of these was his avoidance of the number 7. He had a superstitious dread of the number and refrained from using it in any of his calculations, something that, as you might well surmise, usually complicated his analyses to no small degree.
Later in his life, thanks to years of therapy supplied by his good friend and mentor Robert Hooke, he grew better able to control this phobia and was able to regard the number as the innocent servant of mathematics that it is. Sadly, however, he could never bring himself to utter its name and referred to it up until his death as 6 Plus.