Re: prime numbers and African artifact

Charles Brenner (
17 Jul 1995 08:38:18 -0700

Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan ( wrote:

: As I've said elsewhere, the matter of what shall be meant by prime
: is purely a matter of felicity of expression. Certainly, in one
: context it is very useful to exclude 1, but in other contexts it
: makes sense to include 1, and the original poster deserves =full=
: credit (rather than half-credit), as does Mr Young.


I was told that DH Lehmer advocated calling 1 a prime. I don't know
what his reasons were, but on the face of it one has to take his
opinion quite seriously. It makes me wonder if some of the claims
in this thread to the effect that "excluding 1 is so much more
convenient" may be an unjustified assumption giving too much
deference to convention without actually investigating the arguments.

Just a thought, not a claim.

Charles Brenner