Founding partner Justin Fishner-Wolfson’s grandfather, Haney Fishner, had a seat on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) until 1991. During his tenure, his annunciator number was 137. The annunciator board and its corresponding numbers were used to page members of the exchange and conduct business. In the early 1900s, the over 24 miles of wiring for its annunciator board was one of the most notable features of the NYSE. In 1980, the board was disassembled and replaced by a computerized display system.
137 is a prime number, and further, it also has some unique prime characteristics. 137 is a twin prime, which is when a prime number differs from another prime number by two. Except for the pair (2, 3), this is the smallest possible difference between two primes. 137 and 139 are a twin prime pair. Further, 137 is also a Chen prime. In 1966, a Chinese mathematician, Chen Jingrun, proved that every sufficiently large even number can be written as the sum of a prime and a semi prime (the product of two primes). A prime number p is a Chen prime if p + 2 is either a prime or a product of two primes. 137 satisfies Chen’s theorem, because 137+2=139, which is also prime.
In physics, the inverse of 137 approximates the fine structure constant, which represents the probability that an electron will absorb a photon. Since the early 1900’s, physicists have thought that 137 might be at the heart of a Grand Unified Theory (GUT), which could relate the theories of electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and gravity, but physicists have yet to find any link between the 137 and any other physical law in the universe. It was expected that such an important equation would generate an important number, like one or pi, but this was not the case. 137 is usually denoted by α, which in investment terms has its own significance as the excess return above a benchmark index.
When a vinculum is added, 137 becomes 1337, l33t or leet, also known as eleet or leetspeak. 1337 is an alternative alphabet that is used primarily online. It uses various combinations of ASCII characters to replace letters. Leetspeak was first used by hackers in the 1980s as a way to prevent websites and news groups from being found by simple keyword searches. It was also used to show status on a bulletin board system (BBS). Since then, it’s become popular in online games to suggest that its user is a skilled hacker (h4x0r).