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[Puzzleblogger Kevan Choset, July 28, 2005 at 10:43am] Trackbacks
More on Presidential Life Spans:

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here are some questions on Presidential births. (You might want to try to answer all the questions before looking at any of the answers, since some answers may give away other ones.)

We all know that the Presidents who died closest in time to each other were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who both died on July 4, 1826. What two U.S. Presidents were born closest in time to each other?

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What two consecutive U.S. Presidents were born furthest apart in time?

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What is the longest stretch of time during which no Presidents were born? (Note that this is different from the question above. There may have been a long gap between the birth of consecutive Presidents during which some other President was born. For example, while 15 years separated the births of consecutive Presidents McKinley (1843) and Teddy Roosevelt (1858), there were, indeed, other Presidents born during that gap: Taft (1857) and Wilson (1856).)

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What Presidents was born the most time before his immediate predecessor?

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What President was born before the most of his predecessors?

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Michael Williams (mail) (www):
How about this one: when were the most ex-presidents, presidents, and presidents-to-be all alive at the same time?
7.28.2005 12:41pm
xoxohth.com:
*raises eyebrow*
7.28.2005 12:54pm
Nobody (mail):
"What is the longest stretch of time during which no Presidents were born?"

I think that, as of today, your answer to this question is wrong. As of today, no presidents were born between August 19, 1946 and July 28, 2005, a period of 58 years, 11 months, and some-odd days.
7.28.2005 1:00pm
Chris24601 (mail):
The phrasing of the Pierce-Buchanan answer is a little garbled. You say, "Pierce (November 23, 1804) followed Buchanan (April 23, 1791) as President, but was born 13 years, 7 months before him." It should be "Pierce (November 23, 1804) preceded Buchanan (April 23, 1791) as President, but was born 13 years, 7 months after him," or something to that effect.
7.28.2005 1:24pm
treefroggy (mail):
think that, as of today, your answer to this question is wrong. As of today, no presidents were born between August 19, 1946 and July 28, 2005, a period of 58 years, 11 months, and some-odd days.

Interesting thought, but technically incorrect !! I'm pretty sure that the winner of the 2040 presidential race was born during that time frame.
7.28.2005 2:19pm
Michael Williams (mail) (www):
Well that gets to my question of presidents-to-be... of course, we can't identify them in advance.
7.28.2005 2:28pm
Kevan Choset (mail):
Thanks, Chris24601; I fixed the wording.

I'm still interested in the answer to Michael's question. Of course we won't count future Presidents that we don't know about yet, which means that the answer to his question can be no later than 1946 (since any President alive at any point after 1946 was also alive during 1946).
7.28.2005 2:37pm
Nobody (mail):
treefroggy, as of today, those future presidents are not presidents. As of today, there are no presidents born in the last 58 years.
7.28.2005 3:14pm
Steve:
To back up Nobody's point, the answer to the 3rd question is the interval between the births of Carter and Bush Jr., even though it is entirely possible that some president-to-be was born during that gap (John McCain would fit the bill). Since we're ignoring presidents-to-be for purposes of that question, the answer is clearly the gap in which we are currently living.
7.28.2005 3:21pm
Kevan Choset (mail):
I believe the answer to Michael's question is surprisingly early: From Hayes' birth on October 4, 1822 to Adams' and Jefferson's deaths on July 4, 1826, there were 18 Presidents alive (listed here in order of birth): Adams, Jefferson, Madison (all former); Monroe, Quincy Adams (each current for part of this time); Jackson, Harrison, Van Buren, Taylor, Tyler, Buchanan, Polk, Pierce, Johnson, Lincoln, Grant, Hayes, and Fillmore (all future). The only President who had died to that point was George Washington.

This means that 18 Presidents could have hypothetically gotten together for dinner.

The natural follow-up is this: Which President could have met the most other Presidents? I.e., whose life overlapped with those of the most other Presidents?
7.28.2005 3:43pm
Kevan Choset (mail):
Note that the 18 simultaneous Presidents phenomenon was repeated a couple of times shortly after the example listed above: from one Harrison's birth in 1833 to the other one's death in 1841; and from McKinley's birth in 1843 to Jackson's death in 1845. The record for the modern era falls shockingly short -- only 14 simultaneous Presidents, from Kennedy's birth in 1917 to Roosevelt's death in 1919.
7.28.2005 3:50pm
XavLM:
If you really wanted to be a smartass, you could argue that the longest stretch of time during which no presidents were born was the period between the Big Bang and the birth of Washington.
7.28.2005 3:52pm
Steve:
I dunno, Prof. Zywicki might get upset if we were to assume the Big Bang as fact.
7.28.2005 4:25pm
XavLM:
Even if we use the Young Earth Creationist timeline, there would be well over 4,000 years between the beginning of time and the birth of Washington.
7.28.2005 4:32pm
Kevan Choset (mail):
The President whose life overlapped with the lives of the most other Presidents is Hayes. He was alive from 1822 to 1893, during which time 31 other Presidents (counting Cleveland only once) were alive -- namely, all the Presidents from Adams to Eisenhower.
7.28.2005 4:54pm
John Beukema (mail):
I think the answer to Kevan's question about which president could hypothetically have met the most other presidents is Buchanan, who was born in 1791, during Washington's presidency, and died in 1868, by which time all subsequent presidents through Harding (b. 1865) had been alive. This makes 27 former or future presidents, excluding Buchanan himself and counting Grover Cleveland only once.

In future years, however, Buchanan is likely to be passed on this list by Hoover, born in 1874 during Grant's term but shortly before death of Andrew Johnson, and dying in 1964. During these 90 years every subsequent president from A. Johnson through George W. Bush was also alive. Hoover's total thus is 25, again excluding himself and counting Cleveland only once -- a number that obviously will grow as additional people born before 1964 become president.
7.28.2005 4:59pm
John Beukema (mail):
Oh, hell. To be wrong as well as slow is most embarassing. I still would buy a future on Hoover, though. Because of their long lives, Reagan (age 93 when he died) and Ford (age 92 and counting) also have future potential in this competition, although their current numbers (17 each) is quite low.
7.28.2005 5:04pm