‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ and the Conspiracy of 47

Patrick Stewart and 47

Paramount / Heavy Illustration Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard and the number 47

Today, at least in the United States, folks all over are reveling that the date is 2-22-22, or February 22, 2022. For people who read into numbers and think about the power of numerology, this date could be significant. Numbers are essential for “Star Trek” fans, especially the number 1701. Because of this date, there have been hundreds of weddings across the nation, especially in Las Vegas

Some people see a lot in the numbers, like what people are experiencing today. In fact, dates like 2-22-22 are called “Angel Numbers.” According to writer Aliza Kelly, angel numbers are “are number sequences (usually three or four numbers) that contain repetition and/or patterns. Although they may appear in the most ordinary places, these digits usually grab our attention and — even if for only a moment — evoke a sense of wonder.”

Kelly says that these numbers are meaningful to the people who see them. “One of my favorite aspects of angel numbers is that their meaning is personal,” she writes. She also recommends that people “develop your unique relationship with angel numbers.”

Others disagree that there is any meaning behind numbers like 2-22-22. Barry Markovsky, a professor emeritus of sociology with the University of South Carolina, was interviewed by NPR and gave his opinion on numbers like that.

‘Weird Al’ and 27

“There’s nothing of consequence, really, associated with the day itself,” Markovsky told NPR in the interview. “Our calendar itself is kind of arbitrary, and so those dates don’t necessarily signify anything on any particular day, but it is just kind of a fun thing to notice.”

Pop culture is not immune to these sorts of number-watching situations. Musical icon “Weird Al” Yankovic frequently slips the number 27 into his songs. Grunge reported that Yankovic thinks that 27 “is a funny number,” and that’s why it appears in many of his compositions. 

“Star Trek” is not immune. In fact, a careful rewatch of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” will reveal that someone is obsessed with the number 47. 

‘Star Trek’ and 47

Thanks to YouTuber “Josh G,” fans can watch many instances when 47 popped up into the storylines. None of these situations are significant, and another number could be easily inserted in its place, but 47 was used instead. From a simple calculation by Mr. Data (Brent Spiner) to the highly secretive Code 47 communique from Starfleet Command, to a speech by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) about the “947 known archeological excavations.”

How did this happen? According to Memory Alpha, the inclusion of the number 47 was very deliberate. It started with writer Joe Menosky, who added the number into some of his scripts for the fourth season of “The Next Generation.” Memory Alpha says that Menosky brought the number into Trek thanks to his belief that “all numbers are equal to 47.” 

While a college student, Menosky was a member of The 47 Society, which propagates that theory. The group also says that “all numbers equal 47” is something that can be proved mathematically. 

Since its introduction, 47 became an “in-joke,” which writers would plug into shows, including “Deep Space Nine” and even “Voyager.” Writer Ronald D. Moore mentioned that the staff on DS9 was “kinda tired” of the joke after the fourth season. 

47 on ‘Discovery’

The number 47 has since popped up on “Star Trek: Discovery,” in the ship designation for the U.S.S. Yelchin. That ship, which was mentioned in the DISCO episode “People of Earth,” is named after the late Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the Kelvin Trek reboot series of movies. The ship’s registry number is NCC-4774-E.  

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