This is not a trick. Yet mathematics does provide
curiosities that appear to be magic. This is one that has baffled
mathematicians for many years and still no one knows why it happens. Try it,
you’ll like it!

Pick any
whole number and enter it into your calculator.

Ø If
the number is even, divide by 2. If it is odd, multiply by 3 and add 1.

Ø Repeat
the process with the new number over and over. What happens?

Ø The
sequence

*always*ends in the "loop": 4.....2.....1.....4.....2.....1...
Let’s try it for
the

*arbitrarily selected*number 17
17 is odd, so we multiply by 3 and add 1.
We get 52. (17×3=51+1=52)

52 is even, so we divide by 2. We get 26.
(52 / 2 = 26)

26 is also even, so we divide by 2 again
and get 13.

13 is odd, so we multiply by 3 and add 1.
We get 40. (13×3=39+1=40)

40 is even, so we divide by 2. We get 20.
(40 / 2 = 20)

20 is even, so we divide by 2 and get 10.

10 is also even so we divide by 2 again and
get 5.

5 is odd so we multiply by 3 and add 1. We
get 16.

16 is even, so we divide by 2 and get 8.

8 is also even so we divide by 2 again and
get 4.

2 is even, so we divide by 1 and get 1.

1 is odd, so we multiply by 3 and add 1. We
get 4.

4 is even so we divide by 2. We get 2. And
so we begin the loop

4.....2.....1.....4.....2.....1...

So, the loop 4..2..1 goes on and on.

It
is believed that, no matter which number we begin with (here we started with
17), we will eventually get to 1. This is truly remarkable! Try it for some
other numbers to convince yourself that it really does work. Had we started
with 12 as our arbitrarily selected number, we would have required 9 steps to
reach 1. Starting with 43 will require 29 steps.

**Tips**:

*The angel number*is the smallest prime formed by the two powers in logical order from right to left.

**421**
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