Solution to Numbers

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Answer: BASIC

by Jakob Weisblat, Josh Alman

The puzzle is a series of numbers written in different bases. We can convert them to base ten by hand, or using Wolfram|Alpha, or with various other websites.

Original Number Base Converted to Base 10
2.02g8e20535b1a93fhcec6g78e20535b1a93fhcec6g78e20535b1a93fhd... 18 2.009
5.0415304153041530415304153041530415304153041530415304153042... 6 5.12
6.0020256154331304414600202561543313044146002025615433130442... 7 6.006
8.14j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4j4... 24 8.05
9.148036a259148036a259148036a259148036a259148036a259148036a3... 11 9.13
21.001141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414141414... 5 11.011
22.012172702436560507534121727024365605075341217270243656051... 8 18.02
26.023774205602377420560237742056023774205602377420560237742... 9 24.03
111.00000011100101011000000100000110001001001101110100101111... 2 7.014

First, we wonder why these numbers are chosen. If we don't recognize them right on sight as MIT course numbers, we can google some of them together to get the same realization.

Now we can note that the number before the decimal point is always used as a base for another number on the list, so we can order the numbers to form a cycle.

Base Course After Decimal Point Name of Course Index
11 9.13 13 The Human Brain N
9 24.03 3 Good Food: The Ethics and Politics of Food O
24 8.05 5 Quantum Physics II T
8 18.02 2 Calculus A
18 2.009 9 The Product Engineering Process C
2 7.014 14 Introductory Biology I
7 6.006 6 Introduction to Algorithms D
6 5.12 12 Organic Chemistry I I
5 11.011 11 The Art and Science of Negotiation C

Starting with the bolded course, 9.13, we index the part after the decimal point into the course name to spell a cluephrase, NOT ACIDIC. This clues our thematic answer, BASIC.