Re: prime numbers and African artifact
Ron Hunsinger (hnsngr@sirius.com)
Sat, 08 Jul 1995 00:51:47 0700
In article <3tk9f2$n4n@kira.cc.uakron.edu>, r3dlb1@dax.cc.uakron.edu
(David L Burkhead ) wrote:
> In article <1995Jul7.191856.23484@vtf.idx.com> rsf@mother.idx.com (Rob
Freundlich) writes:
> >In article <5JUL199517392971@almach.caltech.edu>,
> > shoppa@almach.caltech.edu (Timothy D. Shoppa) wrote:
> >>What? They left out 9, 15, and 21, some of the most useful prime numbers
> >>of all! :^)
> >
> >No, no, no. Those are the *even* numbers! The primes are 1, 4, 9, 16, 25,
> >36, etc.
>
> *Is there a mathematician in the house???*
>
> In basic terms a prime number is [snip]
The way I heard it was that every odd number greater than 1 is prime. This
can be proved three different ways:
The way a mathematician proves it:
The first odd number greater than 1 is 3, which is prime.
The next odd number greater than 1 is 5, which is also prime.
Therefore, by Mathematical Induction, the premise is true. Q.E.D.
The way a scientist proves it:
Let's perform an experiment:
3 is prime. Check.
5 is prime. Check.
7 is prime. Check.
9 is ... not prime. Observational error.
11 is prime. Check.
13 is prime. Check.
Experiment seems to confirm the hypothesis.
The way an engineer proves it:
Let's see:
3 is prime,
5 is prime,
7 is prime,
9 is prime,
11 is prime,
13 is prime...
Ron Hunsinger
