Phrases from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy#Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life.2C the Universe.2C and Everything .2842.29

The answer 42 is the shortest and the most famous quote from the filmed novel and radio play series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

It is the answer to the unclear Asked by the author question, " according to Life, the Universe and Everything" ( "life, the universe and everything "), which has to be calculated in the history of the largest existing computer of the universe and use them as with absolute certainty is correct. Ultimately, however, can not do anything with the response, the protagonist, because no one knows what the actual question was.


The novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams became in a short time become a classic of science fiction literature. It is characterized as many works of Adam ' by the fact that he parodies various aspects of life, distorted into the grotesque and the absurd or viewed from an unusual angle. Usually he keeps up with the superficially fantastic and motley acting stories of mankind with their supposedly meaningful motifs and supposedly backed views a mirror. This is particularly pointed in a motif that quite directly the constant search of people for the meaning of being caricatured.

In the novel, a computer called Deep Thought is of an alien culture built specifically to calculate the answer to the question of questions, namely, " according to Life, the Universe and Everything". After a computation time of 7.5 million years he provides the answer, namely, " Forty-two ." This answer is obviously unsatisfactory - in addition, within thus pointedly that Deep Thought over the eagerly expectant, specially chosen for that moment operators delayed and prefaces, they will not like the answer the answer.

The computer indicates that the question has never been posed precisely ("I think the trouble, to be quite honest with you, is did you've never known what the question is, Actually. "). He proposes to you, therefore, to build an even bigger, conceived by him computer that is able to find the question to the answer. This computer is then built and launched its program to search the question for the answer. As it turns out in the course of the novel, it is the planet Earth, which can never complete his task but because he is blown up by the Vogons in the context of the transport project a hyperspace bypass five minutes before the end of the program.

Had the number 42 already one of the most popular writers in English literature " some kind of special significance ," says Martin Gardner, author of the very extensively annotated editions of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland ( 1865) and The Hunting of the Snark (1876 ): Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson ) used the number 42 as chosen randomly appearing in Alice in Phantasmagoria and the Snark, there in two different contexts. As Carroll in the Snark, so divided and Douglas Adams, the radio version of his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in " Fits".


In the book there are many references to supposed interpretations of the number. In the second part ( " The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" ) manages the protagonist Arthur Dent when he is stranded on prehistoric Earth to lay with the help of a self- carved Scrabblespiels from which he randomly draws letters in common some early humans the question - an allusion to a pithy picture of the theory of evolution, in which the result of the evolution is compared with the result that comes out when an infinite number of monkeys on a typewriter write indefinitely ( Infinite Monkey theorem). Paradoxically, Scrabble a meaningful sentence out, which reads: "How much is nine multiplied by six ." The apparent discrepancy between the answer and the question is explained that the just burgeoning humanity who still knew the right question was supplanted by another civilization on the prehistoric Earth. So Arthur and Ford take resignedly towards the futility of the question.

In the third book is indicated that knowledge of the response and the related question exclude each other, but never both can be known in the same universe at the same time.

The supposed secret to the number runs like a red thread and by the subsequent volumes of the novel series " The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and was the subject of much speculation about their origin. In particular, in the Usenet and Internet culture was " 42" quickly dictum, and its mention and use has been very popular. Just as in the book too, the number were repeatedly attributed new meanings and myths, as in the book no ostensible resolution is available.

The formula " nine multiplied by six " would in a 13 - place value system 42 result ( without index numbers are in decimal listed ): So in Usenet discussions, inter alia, mathematical speculations as incurred. Or the choice of " 42" was explained by the regular pattern of the binary notation ( numbers without the index are listed in decimal ): .

The origins of numbers explained the author Douglas Adams in a Usenet post in 1993. On the question of why the answer is " 42" was, he wrote:

"The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose one did. Binary representations, base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought '42 will do '. I typed it out. End of story. "

" The answer is quite simple. It was a joke. There had to be a number, an ordinary, relatively small number, and I chose this. Binary representations, base 13 Tibetan monks: that's all complete nonsense. I sat at the desk, looking out into the garden and thought goes 42 '. I wrote it down. That's all. "


  • In software development, the number 42 - as 0815 and 4711 - often used by programmers as a magic number, ie as a fixed numerical value that everyone can see that he has no deeper meaning, but just an example of any value.
  • Google answered this question fictitious in their origin correctly. Are you in the search box the answer to life, the universe and everything, we obtain as a result of Google's calculator the answer to life, the universe and everything = 42 The same is true for the Internet service Wolfram Alpha.
  • The British musical group Level 42 referred to in the naming also the called number in the novel.
  • The computer games Gothic 1 and Gothic 2 use the 42 to disable a "test mode": Are you in the character menu " 42" one, the text appears at the top left of the screen " What was the question? ".
  • The first independent, developed on the basis of Jurix version of the Linux distribution of SUSE Linux GmbH was established in May 1996 under the name SuSE Linux released with the version number 4.2. The version number was found after a long discussion: since you rejected the version number 1.1, the number declined to prefer the number 42, the answer to the " question of questions " from Douglas Adams ' novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, at.
  • Samsung and Apple integrated the answer is " 42" in the voice control or Siri S Voice. The answer will appear when the user the question " What is the meaning of life? " Represents.