Many years ago I was on a panel reviewing a scientific paper for publication. We concluded that one of the calculations in the paper was really superfluous. But it amused us because the calculation produced the answer 42!
Our recommendation to the author was that the calculation be removed – “despite the theological significance of the result!”
The number 42 seems to have a strong place in our culture – at least in the English-speaking world. And it’s all down to Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (If you don’t understand my point about the number 42 – read the book).
To mark what would have been Adams’s 61st birthday there have been a number of articles scattered through the scientific corners of the internet and blogosphere of late. I am a bit behind, but here’ a nice video in which Douglas Adams describes something of his life and attitudes
Another source of Douglas Adams’s wisdom are the many quotes he left. Some of these (quite a few actually) are collected at Goodreads.
Here’s one of them: