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Number 16: Go the Matildas!

Sixteen things you mightn't know about the Matildas' #16 Hayley Raso. Plus catch me on the ABC TV's Q+A special National Science Week episode.

#16 Hayley Raso

It's been thrilling to watch the Matildas progress from the top 16 to tomorrow night's semi-final against England. And how amazing was their quarter-final penalty shootout victory against France last weekend???!!!

While every woman on the team deserves to be called a superstar, given this is issue 16 of my blog, let's shine a spotlight on the Matildas' #16 Hayley Raso... Here are 16 things you mightn't know about her:

  1. Birthday: 5 September 1994.

  2. Hometown: Brisbane.

  3. Position: Forward winger.

  4. Started playing soccer at age 8, inspired by her older brother.

  5. Current club: Real Madrid CF (has also played for Canberra United, Brisbane Roar, Washington Spirit (USA), Melbourne Victory, Portland Thorns (USA), Everton FC, Manchester City).

  6. Represented Australia at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, with the Matilda's narrowly missing out on a bronze medal to the United States (4-3).

  7. Broke her back in 2018, cracking three vertebrae in an on-field collision and had to learn to walk again...

  8. ... only to play in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup the next year!

  9. Scored absolutely crucial goals against Canada and Denmark in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup - you little champion!!!

  10. Is very superstitious - turns her socks inside out before each game, and always puts the left sock on before the right.

  11. Has a motto tattooed on her foot that reads, "Don’t look back. Leave it all on the track."

  12. Wears a trademark ribbon in her hair for every game - “My grandma always matches my ribbon to my kits."

  13. Co-wrote a children's book Hayley's Ribbon about her early life and the challenges she has overcome.

  14. Greatest impact is her mum who she calls "my rock, my strength".

  15. Greatest inspiration is Melissa Barbieri (former Matildas' goalkeeper) who she describes as “somebody I look up to as a leader and want to be like for the younger members coming into the team now.”

  16. Off the field she is studying to be a paramedic.

Q+A - National Science Week episode

Last night I joined the ABC TV's Q+A program for their annual National Science Week edition, which covered everything from artificial intelligence and why space exploration matters, to issues of whether science is sexist and how to get more Australians excited about STEM.

It was an absolute honour to talk alongside these cerebral superstars: Angela Saini - award-winning science journalist; Dr Cathy Foley AO PSM - Australia's Chief Scientist; Mark Scott - Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney; and Dr Meganne Christian - Australia's first female astronaut.

Circle squares

Okay, let's dive into the maths stuff now :) Sixteen circles can be arranged in a square:

And they can also form the outline of a square:

What the first diagram shows is that:

And the second shows us that a 5 x 5 square with a 3 x 3 square removed gives us the remaining outline, or:

But this only happens for the consecutive numbers 3, 4 and 5, not for any other example of 3 consecutive counting numbers.

So, 16 is the only number of circles for which you can make two related squares like this.

Cute maths fact

You should be able to see that:



Sixteen is the only number that can be written in this "reverse powers" formation.

Fascinating facts about 16!

More bounce per ounce

There are 16 ounces in a traditional (Avoirdupois) pound. Except when we are weighing gold and other precious metals and gems. These (Troy) pounds contain only 12 ounces. So a pound of feathers weighs more than a pound of gold!

Does my butt(erfly) look big in this?

Most caterpillars have 16 legs. Strictly an etymologist (or more specifically, a lepidopterist) will tell you they have 6 thoracic legs and 10 stumpy things (8 abdominal and 2 anal prolegs) hanging off their abdomens.

Bold personality

There are 16 personality types on a standard Myers-Briggs classification system - which type are you? I’ve always thought I was an E I F P (extraverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving) guy, though sometimes I come across a bit E I T J - thinking and judgey judgey.

Even more fascinating facts about 16...

I love numbers. I think all numbers are pretty cool. But I really love 16. So I thought, as a special treat for my number tribe, how about we blast through more amazing facts about 16 - I've come up with 16 more!

Okay, here we go …

There are 16 points on a compass.

16 players on an AFLW team (Go Swans!).

16 pieces on each side in a game of chess - sometimes with a saltshaker substituting for a rook.

The atomic number of sulfur on the periodic table of elements is 16 and it belongs to Group 16 on the periodic table called the chalcogens, which are also referred to as the oxygen family.

King Louis XVI wasn’t just the last King Louis, he was the last king of France - before the fall of the monarchy in 1792 and his beheading!

And then for 16 years from 1814 -1830 the French flag was entirely white!

From 1865 -1957, the standard unit of Indian currency, the rupee, was made up of sixteen anas.

Across Australia, you can get your L-plates at 16 - except in the ACT where the minimum age is 15 and 9 months.

49ers San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana has been voted the best athlete ever to wear the number 16. He played from 1979 - 1994 … yep for 16 seasons!

16 is the first number with exactly 5 divisors (1,2,4,8 and 16).

16 is also the sum of the first 4 odd numbers (1 + 3 + 5 + 7).

The number 16 in Spanish (dieciséis) and Portuguese (dezesseis) is the first “compound number” e.g. said as “10 plus 6”.

“Sixteen going on seventeen” is one of the most famous show tunes from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The Sound of Music.

Ask any fan of Dragon Ball Z and they will tell you that Android 16 was created by the mad scientist Dr. Gero.

The 16th tarot card in the Major Arcana is known as “The Tower,” symbolising sudden change and destruction; this is, of course, complete bullsh*t.

Whilst many of us use our fingers to count to 10, by using the tips and three joints of fingers on one hand, you can count in base 16 (jump to my bit on hexidecimals). Finger counting is called dactylonomy.

Random stuff

16 Psyche asteroid

This asteroid is named 16 Psyche after the Greek goddess Psyche, with the prefix "16" signifying that it was the sixteenth minor planet in order of discovery.

Shaped like an irregular potato, it's located about three times farther away from the Sun than is Earth, and is believed to be made up of gold, nickel and iron - worth 10 quintillion dollars.

That’s $10,000,000,000,000,000,000!

To put this astronomical (excuse the pun) number in perspective, that's over 100,000 times the size of the world economy ($88 trillion)!

In October 2023 as part of NASA's Psyche mission, a spacecraft will be launched using solar-electric (low thrust) propulsion to the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. The aim is to map and study Psyche to determine whether it's the core of a planetesimal learn more

Hotspotting in hexadecimal

As humans, blessed with 10 fingers and 10 toes, we count in a number system based in tens. So once we have cycled through the 10 digits 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and then 9, we start with two digit numbers; 10, 11, 12 and so on.

But there are many counting systems that are not “base 10”.

16 is the base of the hexadecimal number system (hex - six, dec - ten) and is used extensively in computer science.

So when counting to 16 in hexadecimal we count 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,A,B,C,D,E and F before moving on to 10, 11, 12, … all the way to 1F then 20, 21 and so on. Our 10 digits are not enough, so we add the letters A through F to give us 16 symbols to play with.

In case you’re wondering, the number 123456 is equivalent to 1E240 in hexadecimal.

So when you see a Wi-Fi address being listed as 66:A8:64:C6:B2:4A or similar this is two blocks of 3 numbers each. The numbers feature letters because they are in hexadecimal.

Win a maths book!

Did you enjoy those amazing 16 facts? Did I miss anything? Hit me with your favourite thing about the number 16 to win a signed copy of one of my books. Email me the answer here by 17 August.

Answer to number 015 trivia: 15 equals the sum of the consecutive integers between (and including) its first and second digits. I.e. 1+2+3+4+5=15. The other two-digit number which has this same property is.... 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7= 27.

Congrats to the winners - Stuart Tilley, Josh Connor and Mark Lawrence who have all been sent a copy of Maths 101.

That's it for 16. If you'd like more nerdy fun, please check out my other newsletters below.

Yours in numbers,


* Sources: here, here, here and here





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