# Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today Number Fifty-Two 52

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They’ve been ‘beautiful’,  they’ve been ‘big’  and they’ve been ‘unusual’.  Today we have another ‘significant’ number, fifty-two, so-called because of its use and the beliefs surrounding it.

Enjoy.

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## 52 Fifty-Two

Fifty-two first came to mind because it is the number of weeks in a year. Simple enough. But, as usual, with these significant numbers there is more to fifty-two than you might at first imagine.

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In Religion

• The 52nd word of the King James Version of the Bible’s Old Testament Genesis is ‘God’
• Saint Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, is believed to have landed in Kodungallur, India to preach the Gospel.
• Nag Hammadi is a set of 52 religious & philosophical texts, hidden in an earthenware jar for 1,600 years, and accidentally unearthed in the village of Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt in December 1945. Written in Coptic, this corpus of 1200 pages include the Gospel of Thomas recording the secret sayings of Christ.
• The ancient Mexicans divided the time in periods of 52 years, waiting the end of the world to the term of each of they. It is the number of the Aztec century, 13 x 4, called the small cycle. We find it in the ligature of the years for the duration of the suns, in particular the first and the fourth sun, which have a duration of 676 years, are considered as being the most perfect since they contain only the two numbers 13 and 52 whose product gives 676.
• The Mayan Calendar moves through a complete cycle every 52 years. (until near the end of December this year GULP!)

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In Mathematics

• Fifty-two is the 6th Bell number and a decagonal number.
• It is an untouchable number, since it is never the sum of proper divisors of any number, and it is a noncototient since it is never the answer to the equation x – f(x).
• The number of different ways a complete pack of playing cards may be rearranged is 52! or 52 factorial which is 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 x…
• This number is very large; For example it would take light approximately 14 billion billion billion billion billion billion years to travel 52! miles.

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In Science

• The Atomic Number of Tellurium (semi-metallic with silvery lustrous grey color) is 52
• Atomic Weight of Chromium (Cr) is 52

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In Space

• Messier object M52, a magnitude 8.0 open cluster in the constellation Cassiopeia

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In Sport

• For over twenty years, 52 was the best-known car number of retired NASCAR driver Jimmy Means.

• Ray Lewis, is possibly the most famous sportsman to currently wear the number 52 jersey. He plays for the Baltimore Ravens, is a dominant linebacker and force on the premier defense in the NFL. He also has a really unique (and entertaining,) dance he does when entering the stadium field.

• But perhaps the most interesting story is that of Michael Lewis “Iron Mike” Webster who was an American football player who played center in the National Football League from 1974 to 1990 with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Iron Mike” anchored the Steelers’ offensive line during much of their run of four Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1979 and is considered by some as the best center in NFL history.
• His career ended after the 1990 season, with a total of 245 games played at center. At the time of his retirement, he was the last active player in the NFL to have played on all four Super Bowl winning teams of the 1970s Steelers. He played more seasons as a Steeler than anyone in franchise history (15 seasons), one season ahead of Hines Ward.
• While the Steelers no longer officially retire jerseys, Webster’s #52 has not been reissued by the team since he retired and it is generally understood that no Steeler will wear that number again.
• Webster was proven to have been disabled before retiring from the NFL. After retirement, he  suffered from amnesia, dementia, depression, and acute bone and muscle pain. He lived out of his pickup truck or in train stations between Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, even though his friends and former teammates were willing to rent apartments for him. In his last years Webster lived with his youngest son, Garrett, who though only a teenager at the time, had to act as the parent to his father. Webster’s wife divorced him six months before his death in 2002. He was only 50 years old.
• Webster is quoted as an example of the difficulties American football players suffer when their careers are over. Other players who retired because of the effects of concussion or other head injuries include Johnny Unitas, Roger Staubach, Merril Hoge, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Dave Pear, Wayne Chrebet, and Al Toon.
• After his death, Mike Webster was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative disease. Bennet Omalu, a forensic neuropathologist, examined tissue from Webster and eight other NFL players and determined they all showed the kind of brain damage previously seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, as well as in some retired boxers. Omalu’s findings were largely ignored by the NFL until Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was diagnosed with CTE shortly after his death in 2009.
• It has been speculated that Webster’s ailments were due to wear and tear sustained over his playing career; some doctors estimated he had been in the equivalent of “25,000 automobile crashes” in over 25 years of playing football at high school, college and professional levels.
• Webster’s estate brought a lawsuit in Maryland’s U.S. District Court against the National Football League. The estate contended that Webster was disabled at the time of his retirement, and was owed \$1.142 million in disability payments under the NFL’s retirement plan. On April 26, 2005, a federal judge ruled that the NFL benefits plan owed Webster’s estate \$1.18 million in benefits. With the addition of interest and fees, that amount was estimated to exceed \$1.60 million. The NFL appealed the ruling, but on December 13, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia affirmed the Baltimore federal judge’s 2005 ruling that the league’s retirement plan must pay benefits reserved for players whose disabilities began while they were still playing football.

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In Militaria

The B-52

• By far the best know aircraft with the 52 designation is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. It is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber, built to carry nuclear weapons for Cold War-era deterrence missions, and was a replacement for the Convair B-36.
• It has been operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since the 1955. The bomber carries up to 70,000 pounds (32,000 kg) of weapons.
• Beginning with their successful contract bid in June 1946, the Boeing B-52 design evolved from a straight-wing aircraft powered by six turboprop engines to the final prototype YB-52 with eight turbojet engines and swept wings.
• The B-52 took its maiden flight in April 1952. Although a veteran of several wars, the Stratofortress has dropped only conventional munitions in combat. Its Stratofortress name is rarely used outside of official contexts; it has been referred to by Air Force personnel as the BUFF (Big Ugly Fat/Flying Fucker/Fellow).
• Superior performance at high subsonic speeds and relatively low operating costs have kept the B-52 in service despite the advent of later aircraft, including the cancelled Mach 3 North American XB-70 Valkyrie, the variable-geometry Rockwell B-1B Lancer, and the stealthy Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit.
• The B-52 marked its 50th anniversary of continuous service with its original operator in 2005 and after being upgraded between 2013 and 2015 it will serve into the 2040s.

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The Junkers Ju 52

• The Junkers Ju 52 (nicknamed Tante Ju (“Auntie Ju”) and Iron Annie) was a German trimotor transport aircraft manufactured from 1932 to 1945.
• It saw both civilian and military service during the 1930s and 1940s.
• In a civilian role, it flew with over 12 air carriers including Swissair and Deutsche Luft Hansa as an airliner and freight hauler.
• In a military role, it flew with the Luftwaffe as a troop and cargo transport and briefly as a medium bomber.
• The Ju 52 continued in postwar service with military and civilian air fleets well into the 1980s.

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Ka-52

• Another notable air machine with the 52 designation is the multi-role all-weather combat Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopter.  First revealed at 1995 Paris Air Show, this is a twin-seat derivative of the attack Ka-50. It is intended for a wide range of combat tasks in daytime and night conditions, in any time of the year with the use of all destruction means of the Ka-50.
• The Ka-52 has a coaxial design with unique manoeuvrability that allows the helicopter to perform combat maneuvers within the minimum air area and the shortest time to gain an advantageous attack position.
• From the point of view of the weapons power the “Alligator” is comparable with the “Black Shark” helicopter and is superior to all existing combat helicopters.

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USS Barry (DDG 52)

• The fourth ‘Barry’, the DDG 52, was launched on 10 May 1991 by Ingalls Shipbuilding Inc. and was commissioned into the U.S. Atlantic Fleet on 12 December 1992.
• The USS Barry DDG 52 has taken part in Operation Support Democracy in Haiti in November 1993; the backdrop for the 50th anniversary of D-Day in the Mediterranean in 1994; the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas served as “Red Crown” in support of the No-Fly Zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Persian Gulf in 1994 in response to Iraq’s massing of troops on the Kuwaiti border; Operation Vigilant Warriors escort of both the George Washington and an amphibious assault group to anchorage off Kuwait City and as alternate Persian Gulf Anti-Air Warfare Coordinator (AAWC), and principal Tomahawk strike platform during the crisis.
• The USS Barry received a Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, and the NATO Medal for her actions
• In October of 2004, Barry was again in the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom as part of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group and also participated in Somalia Operations in the Horn of Africa (HOA).

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CZ 52

• The CZ 52 (also known by the Czechoslovakian military designations vz. 52, for “model of 1952”, and CZ 482) is a semi-automatic pistol designed by two brothers, Jan and Jaroslav Kratochvíl, in the early 1950s for the Czechoslovakian military.
• Around 200,000 vz. 52s were made by Ceská Zbrojovka in Strakonice from 1952 to 1954.
• The vz. 52 replaced the 7.65 mm Browning caliber (.32 ACP) Vz.50, which had acquired a reputation for unreliability and was underpowered for its role as a military service sidearm.
• After 30 years of military service, the vz. 52 was eventually replaced by the 9x18mm Makarov caliber vz. 82. Cz-USA began exporting to the US market in January 1998 with the designation CZ 52.

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AA-52

• The AA-52 (full designation in French: Arme Automatique Transformable Modèle 1952, “Transformable automatic weapon model 1952”), also known as “La Nana” is one of the first French-produced guns of the post-World War II era.
• It was manufactured by the French government-owned MAS company.
• The AA-52 is still used today as a vehicle-mounted weapon due to large quantities in service, but has been replaced in the helicopter role by the Belgian FN MAG, starting with the EC 725 Caracal of the Special Operations units and the Air Force Search and Rescue teams.
• The AA-52 had been largely phased out for infantry use in favour of the lighter FN Minimi. The AA-52 is still in use in Afghanistan.

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British Army

• Part of the British Army forces is 52 Infantry Brigade which has a proud and long history as a fighting brigade.
• Its reputation during both the World Wars earned it the nickname of ‘The Fighting 52nd’ and its recent deployment to Afghanistan enabled the Brigade to re-establish its fighting credentials as one of the British Army’s fully deployable Type A Brigades.

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US Army

• The 52nd Infantry Regiment
• The 52nd Infantry Regiment (“Ready Rifles”) is an infantry unit of the United States Army.
• The coat of arms was originally approved for the 52d Infantry Regiment on June 29, 1921. It was redesignated for the 52d Armored Infantry Regiment on September 29, 1942. The insignia was redesignated for the 52d Armored Infantry Battalion on January 6, 1944.
• It was redesignated for the 52d Infantry Regiment on October 31, 1958.

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• 1st Battalion, 52d Aviation Regiment
• The 1st Battalion, 52d Aviation Regiment is known as the “Flying Dragons.”
• The battalion headquarters is located at Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
• The battalion provides aviation support to USARAK (United States Army Alaska) with UH-60A Blackhawks and CH-47 Chinooks. On order, deploy and conduct full spectrum aviation operations in support of Combatant Commanders.

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Other Stuff

• A standard piano has 52 white keys

• Fifty-two is the approximate number of weeks in a year. 52 weeks is 364 days, while the tropical year is 365.24 days long. According to ISO 8601, most years have 52 weeks while some have 53.

• There are 52 cards in a standard deck of playing cards, not counting Jokers or advertisement cards

• There is a 52 Plus Joker Club that was formed to facilitate, the collection and trading of antique and collectible playing cards and related items; the advancement of knowledge about the history, manufacture and artistic aspect of playing cards; and the promotion of fellowship among members with similar interests.

• DC Comics has a weekly comic series entitled 52 that has 52 issues, with a plot spanning one full year.

• In finance one of the vital statistics always quoted in stocks/shares summaries is the 52 week High/Low trading price

• Patolli is an Aztec board game utilizing 52 squares arranged in a cross form. Its name came from the Aztec word for bean— patolli, meaning fava or kidney bean. The game is played on a curious diagonal cross-shaped board with red and blue markers and five beans (or occasionally four beans) as dice. The game’s goal is to return the pieces back to the original starting position. Patolli was most likely also used in a religious and ritualistic sense for divination— the throw of the beans was thought to be able to tell the future.
• Cities located at 52o latitude: Berlin, Germany; Hannover, Germany; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Warsaw, Poland; and Birmingham, UK.
• And finally, the  Morden Blush Rose, bred in Canada, has 52 petals.

## 12 thoughts on “Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today Number Fifty-Two 52”

1. Great post … especially because this is the highest 50s I haven’t done.

The info on Mike Webster is a worthy post in itself!

On a personal note, US Rt 52 passes through Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, you also reminded me of this one.

• Thanks for the comments and glad you liked the post. Agreed, the Iron Mike would have served as a post on its own. There is something sad about people who are very good at one thing and find it hard to adapt after it comes to an end.
Thanks also for the music, I had forgotten about The B-52s.

• As soon as I read the bomber, that song popped into my head.

• As long as somebody cared! 🙂

2. So much ado about 52! 😉

Loved the aircraft info, and had Frank no beaten me to it, I was going to mention the ‘other’ B-52s…

• Thanks for commenting. Glad you liked this post. Yes, you have to be quick off the mark to beat Frank 😉

3. Pretty good, buddy! A minor correction on the Ju-52 – it originally entered service as a single engine craft. Looking at various option to upgrade it, Junkers decided to go with 3 lower-power (but more available) radial engines than 2 wing engines. The reason wasn’t just financial, either, as they swapped in more powerful radials to use the Ju-52 as a bomber over Spain, during the 1936 Civil War. 😉
Now, BB-52 was part of an interesting story. Intended to be the USS North Carolina, she was supposed to be part of a series called the USS South Dakota series of 1920, a heavily-armed but slow battleship line, direct successors to the USS Colorado-class. They would have had twelve 16″ guns – a number never seen to that point (the Colorados had 8 guns), and never to be realised. The most guns a US battleship would ever carry in the future (after the SDs) would be 9, and no other battleship would carry as many. (The huge Yamatos of the Japanese Navy carried bigger, 18.1 inch guns, but only 9 – the Brits would mount 10 14″ guns on their King George V battleships of Bismarck hunting fame.) The South Dakota class are considered the end of the “line of battle” ships going back to the days of sail, with the subsequent US battleships gaining more than 25% more speed, at the expense of some armour, and becoming guardian escorts for the budding US aircraft carrier fleet.
And that ends “Never-Built Battleships 101” for today, boys and girls! 😀

• Wonderful. This really is your specialist subject. 😉

• Thanks for commenting. I don’t think there were 52, maybe it just seemed like it 😉 But I’m thinking you’ll be well armed for your next pub quiz – assuming they ask something about 52 that is!

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