Seven is the largest single digit prime number and a Mersenne prime. It is the number of planets in ancient Greek astronomy and the number of days in the astrological week, named after those planets. Isaac Newton decided to give the rainbow seven colours to match the seven notes of the major scale. Albrecht Dürer included a construction of a seven-sided polygon, the heptagon, in his maths book, which was criticised by Kepler as being only an approximation. Rome was built on seven hills. There are seven deadly sins, of which I have committed all seven more than once in my life, and seven heavenly virtues, of which I possess none. Two of my favourite films are Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai and John Sturges’ glorious Hollywood rendition of it, The Magnificent Seven. Snow White had seven dwarfs and there were seven brides for those seven brothers. David Fincher’s neo-noir psychological thriller was simply called Seven. Seven is a number that turns up in a multitude of historical, mythical, literary, musical, artistic, mathematical and scientific contexts and today is the seventh birthday of the Renaissance Mathematicus.
I came comparatively late to computers. There are no Ataris, Sinclairs or C64s collecting dust in my cellar and I didn’t spend my youth painfully learning to programme in Fortran, BASIC or Pascal. I also came comparatively late to the Internet. I was not one of those who cobbled together a dial up modem and spent a fortune on telephone fees to gain online contact to a fellow enthusiast on the other side of the world. However when I did take the plunge the world of blogging was still very young and when I first discovered them a blog that was seven years old definitely belonged to the pioneer founder generation and was venerated as a Methuselah amongst its peers. Given the short lived and oft fickle nature of blogs, over the years seven continued to remain a sort of bench mark for a successful, mature, established blog. This being the case I regard today as the day that The Renaissance Mathematicus has become part of the cyberspace establishment.
When I started this blog I never imagined, even in my wildest dreams, that I would be sitting here typing a post to mark or celebrate my seventh anniversary. Over the last seven years the content and the aims of this blog have remained constant but the style of the blog posts has developed (degenerated!) and matured (gone stale!). I very rarely look at blog statistics, as doing so makes me too aware of the fact that people are reading the rubbish that I write and I start to worry about pleasing/insulting them and that impedes my ability to write freely. I do however know that, for a moderately hard-core history of science blog, a surprisingly large number of people read my regular outpourings. A thought that both frightens and humbles me. I would like to mark this milestone by issuing some thanks.
Thanks to all the people who, for whatever reason, read what I present here on a regular basis. Thanks to those highly knowledgeable and critical souls, who brave my wrath and comment on my posts, particularly on the more provocative or contentious ones. Thanks to all those who tweet or retweet links to my posts on Twitter or share them on Facebook. And a very special thanks to all the members of the Internet history of science community for letting me, a bungling amateur, be part of your world. I hope that at least some of you will stick around for the next seven years.