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MIT staff blogger Ben Jones

4 8 15 16 23 42 by Ben Jones

If you already know what those numbers mean, this entry is for you.

So I’m a Lost fanatic.

Long-time readers know that Alias and The OC are my two favorite shows, but Lost is positioning itself to take the lead.

I had lunch with Axiak last week and gave him the numbers. I figured if anyone could crack it, Random could. We’ll see what he and his peeps come up with.

In the meantime, do you think the numbers are…

Are you obsessed too?


Go to the official site and click on the bar code at the bottom. When prompted, type in:

the islandiswaiting

Now someone explain that.

I declare this the official MIT Blogs Lost forum. Discuss away.

23 responses to “4 8 15 16 23 42”

  1. Robb Carr says:




    f(3)=15 etc etc etc…though somehow I am doubting that has any significant at all. (Yay professor strangs linear algebra lectures on open courseware…well this is not really linear algebra I guess but thats where I got the idea for a method to find the function from)

    I have never seen the show so I guess I cannot really guess at any actual significance of the numbers…what else mathematically though…mmm I can think of lots of trivial things…nothing that could have a relation to the actual show…

    I have a bit more to post, however I have to leave for now…will post some more later tonight


  2. Merudh says:

    hey Ben,

    I was a fan of OC until it got too cheesy for me to watch lol you know its true. But I had a question…what do you think of Coldplay?

    If you ever heard of them…or like them what is your favorite song?

  3. Timur Sahin says:

    Hehe, Ben is using his power as an adcom to harness the intellect of the best and the brightest of today’s youth…

    … to crack a code for a TV series.

    A man after my own heart. smile

  4. Christina says:

    This is going to be the most incoherent comment ever; you have been warned.

    I just spent fifteen minutes trying to comment on a post of yours entitled, “Only YOU have the power.” It really touched me and I was going crazy trying to figure out if I had to somehow sign in to comment or what — when I realized it was written in March. Shit. smile

    Anyway, I’m not applying to MIT but I would like to thank you for changing my opinion of admissions officers a bit. As is every other senior in America, I’ve been pretty stressed out over college. My guidance counselor keeps throwing my college essay back at me saying that “the admissions officers might not want to read until the end to find out what’s going on –” “admissions officers will think —” “admissions officers won’t like the way you listed your science awards –” etc. etc. etc. (Three et. ceteras, I know!)

    Then, about a month ago, I visited the school that I am applying ED to (Penn) and their admissions office refused to give me an application. They said I needed to ‘send away’ for one or else download it from the net. Due to the fact that I’m getting at least 500 applications with scholarship promises in the mail on a daily basis, this really REALLY left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

    I decided today, during school, that I hated college admissions officers at “good” schools. They won’t visit my high school (which IS in bumblefuck, Pennsylvania…but still), they’re rude when I call to ask a question about reccomendation letters, and overall I envisioned them as being a group of elitist bastards who sit around and toss applications through the air whilst laughing at applicants’ extra curricular activities.

    And then I read your blog, and I wonder if perhaps admissions officers aren’t what guidance counselors and college bound students think they are/make them out to be. Maybe you do realize how stressful this process is and how sensitive we truly are about it.

    Thanks. smile

  5. Merudh says:

    yeah…adcoms at MIT seem to like to show students that they are all in all…HUMAN

  6. bz says:

    sadly alias is deteriorating tongue laugh

  7. Laura says:

    Aww I feel bad that I can’t participate since I never really watched Lost. It seems like a cool show but it seems a little late to try to catch up.

    Maybe I’ll turn my blog into the official MIT Veronica Mars Forum. =)

  8. Merudh says:

    I just watched the show yesterday…i saw the numbers were related to some lottery ticket thing….anyone wanna fill me in…the show seems interesting

  9. First of all, let me yell at you for never having lunch with ME. Expect me to find you Friday (not tomorrow, I’m hosed :p).

    Expect a second part to this comment later, when I get a chance to look at the code.

  10. Lily says:

    Well this may be weird and a bit stalkerish, but I was at the Germantown Academy, PA session – the girl interested in Sloan – and I decided to check out your blog, and just now decided to leave a message on your blog.

    I know this is the “Lost Forum”, but I absolutely love Alias. I can see what you mean by it slowly sinking (since Jennifer Garner got herself knocked up and probably won’t be able to kick butt the way she used to), but it will always have a special place in my heart. I want to see how they kill off Michael Vartan (oh man the awkwardness!)

    On a second note, Jennifer Garner and I have the SAME birthday. And she got engaged on her birthday – so by the commutative law (or something like that), I was born on the same day she was AND on her engagement anniversary. So it only makes sense that I remain a loyal and true Alias fan.

    There. That’s my plug for Alias.

    (Did you see her in Daredevil???)

  11. edit: Not seen, just remembered.

  12. Oceanic Flight 815 departed sydney at 4:16. 42 survived in the original section that we followed for the first season. 23 were in the tail section that walked away. the sum of the numbers is 108 which is the number of mineuts after which the button needs to be pushed.

    I think thats all of the big number crunches I’ve seen.

  13. Zack Yang says:

    The second I saw “4, 8” I instantly thought: “wow, we’ve got Lost fans”.

  14. Joe says:

    Well, I Googled those numbers and hit #2 ( was this truly massive listing of all significance those numbers have ever had in “Lost”. I don’t watch the show myself but I was amazed at the effort that must have gone into that site… So check it out (if you have a spare couple of hours to read it, that is) – enlightenment may be yours……

  15. Pelu Tran says:

    As to what you get when you type in theislandiswaiting, change the http://hansofoundation to https://hansofoundation

    No clue what that does aside from play some nice Lost music…

    Oh, and cute polar bears.

  16. Dave says:

    Joe, you included an “)” in your web address

    it’s now moved to

  17. S Otlowski says:

    Pity you decided to shave the beard. It looked great on you, and there aren’t nearly enough red beards in the world.

    You should grow it back!

  18. Nabil says:

    Ha, at first I thought the title of this blog meant that we should be able to find the pattern in that sequence so I stared at it for like ten minutes and I was like, darn maybe I’m not MIT caliber. But then I clicked on it and I realized it was about a show I have unfortunately never seen.



  19. Robb Carr says:

    Yeah, as you can see from my post, the pattern probably has no meaning…I found a few other patterns …mostly geometric…all useless, heh

  20. Nabil says:

    Hey Robb, can you show me how you got that function? I can’t believe that actually works, how did you do that?

    I must know.

  21. Josh Wang says:

    Holy Moly! I just entered that code into the barcode! Man, thats insane! One other thing that was weird, I guess I wasnt wearing my glasses, but was the lady in (Desmond? the guy underground)’s framed picture, which Jack was looking into, Jack’s wife? They never explained what happened to their marraige did they?

  22. Robb Carr says:

    Hi! Sorry…had not checked this thread in a while which is unusual actually…anyway…let me write up something on it and make a nice shiny pdf/postscript that I can put up on my server…mmm probably sometime tommorow slightly busy now. But trying to explain it through the blog is…difficult? so let me write up something in LaTeX where I can do proper matrices.

  23. Nabil says:

    Thanks Rob, I had a feeling it would be somewhat complex. Don’t spend too much time on it, I’m only in AP Calc AB, so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to understand…