Sept. 10, 2019, palindrome offers a little magic
Today, Sept. 10, 2019, expressed as 9/10/2019, is a full seven-digit palindrome date.
The next time Sept. 10 will be a full palindrome date is 1,000 years later in the fourth millennium on 9/10/3019.
This month contains one four-digit and 10 five-digit, total 11 palindrome dates: 9/1/19, 9/10/19, 9/11/19, 9/12/19 . . . 9/19/19. The 10 five-digit palindrome dates are consecutive dates and today is the first one of these 10. Today is also special because it is a full palindrome date: 9/10/2019. The 4- and five-digit palindrome dates repeat every century.
Note that 9/10/2019 palindrome date in the rest of the world falls on 9 October 2019, since they use the day/month/year date format instead of month/day/year format. Further, 9/10/2019 is the last full seven-digit palindrome date to occur in this century in the day/month/year date format.
Eleven palindrome dates occurred in the month of January in 2011, in February in 2012, in March in 2013, and they are in September in 2019. So, they keep moving forward by one month every year. However, next year, they will not occur in October. Instead, they will move back to February and only nine will be consecutive and the other two won't.
This year contains only four palindrome dates in the day/month/year date format and none of them is in September: 9/1/19 (9 January 2019); 9/10/19 (9 October 2019); 9/11/19 (9 November 2019), and 9/12/19 (9 December 2019).
We are lucky in the United States because we have 11.
This century contains 26 seven-digit and 12 eight-digit, total 38 full palindrome dates. There are also 38 full palindrome dates in the rest of the world but they have nine seven-digit and 29 eight-digit palindrome dates.
Next year, there is no full seven-digit palindrome date, however, there is a one-of-a-kind full eight-digit palindrome date to occur: Feb. 2, 2020, expressed as 02/02/2020. No matter where they are, all the people on this planet will celebrate this palindrome on the same calendar date.
I coined such common full palindrome date as "Ubiquitous Palindrome Date." The last one was 11/11/1111. After 02/02/2020, the next ubiquitous eight-digit palindrome date will be 12/12/2121, the last to occur in the third millennium. Next will be in the fourth millennium: 03/03/3030. Next in the fifth millennium: 04/04/4040.
Eight-digit ubiquitous palindrome dates are extremely rare. We are lucky that 02/02/2020 will occur in our lifetime.
Note that there are other ubiquitous palindrome dates that are not eight digits. Some examples:
2/2/22 — 4 digits (repeats every century)
2/22/22 or 22/2/22 — 5 digits (repeats every century)
2/2/2222; 3/3/3333, etc. — 6 digits
2/22/2222 or 22/2/2222 — 7 digits
"Palindrome dates" is a fun recreational subject and it has the "magic" power to draw anyone's attention. It intrigues our curiosity and serves as a brainteaser. Keeping track of palindrome dates is not as straightforward as one might think. Palindrome dates makes us happy when someone we know has a palindrome birthday coming up or a wedding is scheduled to occur on a palindrome date, etc.
My dream is that the ubiquitous palindrome date 02/02/2020 next year is accepted by all as a world peace day because it is so unique and it will be celebrated all over the world on the same calendar day. Wouldn't that be fun?
During the next 10 days, try to pay attention to all kinds of palindromes in your surrounding: Palindrome names, palindrome words, palindrome pictures, palindromic views, palindrome numbers (such as bus numbers, license plate numbers, house numbers, palindrome ages, etc.) Share this story with your loved ones and intrigue their curiosity on this subject.
Palindrome dates have the power to foster social interaction because of all of the above.
Aziz S. Inan is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Portland.
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