Re: prime numbers and African artifact

Michael Jennings (
14 Jul 1995 13:00:43 GMT

In article <>,
Daniel Kian Mc Kiernan <> wrote:
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> numbers are useful - this result isn't called the fundamental theorem of
>> arithmetic for nothing.
>No one is calling the importance of the theorem into question. It
>is only insofar as how a definition of "prime" affects the felicity
>of expression that the theorem can here be brought into play. NOw,
>you didn't give a formal statement of the theorem, but nonetheless
>look at what you did say, and how you said it. It really comes down
>to nothing more than a question of where one sticks in "except one"
>(or the equivalent) in the expression.

The issue is simple: this (and virtually all the other theorems used
in mathematics that are based upon prime numbers) does not make sense
if you count one as a prime number. That is why we exclude it.


Michael Jennings
Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics
The University of Cambridge.

"Forrest Gump!! Man, I violently *hated* that reactionary piece of subtle
pseudohip drivel... Then again, I don't even like movies. But Jesus -- a
movie that really makes the audience wish they were obedient and stupid??
What gives?? It's like something out of the depths of a Stalinist purge."
- Bruce Sterling