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“George Washington: He Liked to Count Things”

“Of all the presidents we have had, George Washington was the only who really counted.” That single sentence with its double meaning comes at the end of a four-page monograph published in 1978 in the Alabama Journal of Mathematics. The report’s title is, George Washington: He Liked to Count Things. The author Pete Casazza, a mathematician who writes under multiple pen names, adds fuel to a tiny fire of his own creation, suggesting that the number one number one official of the United States of America was a little obsessed.

Casazza, now a maths professor at the University of Missouri, wrote this under the pseudonym Cora Green, back when he was at Auburn University of Montgomery, Alabama.

Casazza/Green specifies more than 40 specific things that America’s first president counted. They are mere examples, he emphasises, plucked from a myriad…

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

BONUS: Here is a photo of author Pete Casazza. Can you count the stripes visible on his shirt?

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