# small riddle with a bigger meaning

I'm not a number, but start off with one.
And in some cases, I'll end up with tons.
Divide and multiply is what I do,
But only in the power of two.
Mathematics is none of my kind.
My job is vital, keep that in mind.

Who am I? That's the question.
Feel free to make a suggestion...

Hint 1

Applied science is not my field,
But if I tell you, my identity is instantly revealed!

At first I thought you were a

Zygote

But after a comment you made about a "process", I think you are

Mitosis

I'm not a number, but start off with one.

At first you have one cell.

And in some cases, I'll end up with tons.

After several cellular cycles, you can have tons of cells.

Divide and multiply is what I do,

Cells can multiply/divide by mitosis.

But only in the power of two.

Because, of course, mitosis can only split cells in two. So one cell -> two cells -> four cells etc.

Mathematics is none of my kind.

Better suited for biology...

My job is vital, keep that in mind.

Without mitosis, no life form could be alive!

• That is correct! Congrats. This is one of my first riddles. Since I'm not a native speaker, was it hard to understand the riddle? – D3f4u1t Apr 17 '18 at 14:46
• Thank you! I'm not a native speaker either, so I'm not the best person to tell :D For me it wasn't hard, anyway. Nice riddle, I enjoyed it! – LinuxBlanket Apr 17 '18 at 14:51

I'm not a number, but start off with one.

A logical shift is between 2 numbers

And in some cases, I'll end up with tons.

Often used with binary numbers, which can be pretty long

Divide and multiply is what I do,
But only in the power of two.

A logical shift divides or multiplies by $2^n$

Mathematics is none of my kind.

Used in computer science and logic

My job is vital, keep that in mind.

And really useful for programmers!

• that's a nice guess and it makes sense to me. But still, it's not the answer what I am looking for. I will provide a hint after a while... – D3f4u1t Apr 13 '18 at 7:47

You are

a Stem Cell

I'm not a number, but start off with one.

All living organism start as one cell

And in some cases, I'll end up with tons.

We are made of a ton of cells

Divide and multiply is what I do, But only in the power of two.

To multiply cells divide in two

Mathematics is none of my kind.

It is natural science

My job is vital, keep that in mind.

Cells are life

• This answer is very close to the term I am looking for... you have to add something to your answer, then I will mark yours as correct – D3f4u1t Apr 17 '18 at 6:27
• Hmm Changed the answer a bit but I do not have a lot of biology knowledge. So this might be my last guess. – guillau4 Apr 17 '18 at 7:33

Well I guess that the answer is

One of the "Unicellular organism".

I'm not a number, but start off with one.

although they're not a number but start with one "UNI" which means single or one.

And in some cases, I'll end up with tons.

It is well known that tons of these unicellular organism such as bacteria, virus etc., are found under unhealthy conditions.

Divide and multiply is what I do, But only in the power of two.

In optimum conditions (nice and warm, lots of nutrients), each individual cell can divide into two cells every 20 minutes! This means that if you start off with one cell, if the conditions are right, 20 minutes later you will have 2 cells. After another 20 minutes each of these will have divided into 2 cells giving a total of 4 cells and so on.

Mathematics is none of my kind

They are not really related to mathematics. Biology is what they fit in best.

My job is vital, keep that in mind.

They are at a point important and play a vital role in our daily lives. From fermentation of curd to stomach bacteria which is necessary for digestion of food., there are many more use cases of them in our life.

• Your explanation in the fourth line is the key to the wanted term... – D3f4u1t Apr 17 '18 at 13:22
• You mean the process or the organism? – Maniraj Apr 17 '18 at 13:28
• The process (maybe my hints are a little misleading) but now the answer should be clear right? – D3f4u1t Apr 17 '18 at 14:15
• Trying to figure it out – Maniraj Apr 17 '18 at 14:40

You are a

Half-life (not the video game), representing the average time for a quantity to reduce to half its initial value

I'm not a number, but start off with one.

$1/2$

And in some cases, I'll end up with tons.

The half-life of a radioactive isotope can be pretty long. Uranium-238 has a half-life of $4.4683×10^9$ years

Divide and multiply is what I do, But only in the power of two.

After $4$ half-lives, you have $1/2^4$ entities remaining

Mathematics is none of my kind.

Applied in nuclear physics

My job is vital, keep that in mind.

Every radioactive isotope decays into more stable element