PERCEPTION OF THE FIXED LAWS OF NATURE. 65for their philosophical inquiries, have made a point of seeing and conversing with him, and they have all been struck with astonishment at his extraordinary powers. It is correctly true, as stated of him, that he will not only determine with the greatest facility and despatch the exact number of minutes or seconds in any given period of time, but will also solve any other question of a similar kind. He will tell the exact product arising from the multiplication of any number consisting of two, three, or four figures by any other number consisting of the like number of figures; or any number consisting of six or seven places of figures being proposed, he will determine with equaJ expedition and ease all the factors of which it is composed. This singular faculty consequently extends not only to the raising of powers, but to the extraction of the square and cube roots of the number proposed, and likewise to the means of determining whether it is a prime number (or a number incapable of division by any other number); for which case there does not exist at present any general rule amongst mathematicians. All these and a variety of other questions connected therewith are answered by this child with such promptness and accuracy (and in the midst of his juvenile pursuits) as to astonish every person who has visited him.
" At a meeting of his friends, which was held for the purpose of concerting the best methods of promoting the views of the father, this child undertook and completely succeeded in raising the number 8 progressively up to the sixteenth power. And in naming the last result, viz., 281,474,976,710,656! he was right in every figure. He was then tried as to other numbers consisting of one figure, all of which he raised (by actual multiplication, and not by memory) as high as the tenth power, with so much facility and despatch that the person appointed to take down the results was obliged to enjoin him not to be so rapid. With respect to numbers consisting of two figures, he would raise some of them to the sixth, seventh, and eighth power, but not always with equal facility; for the larger the products became, the more difficult he found it to proceed. He was asked the square root of 106,929; and before the number could be written down, he immediately answered, 327. He was then required to name the cube root of 268,336,125; and with equal facility and promptness he replied, 645. Various other questions of a similar nature, respecting the roots and powers of very high numbers, were proposed by several of the gentlemen present, to all of which he answered in a similar manner. One of the party requested him to name the factors which pro- |
||