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19 March 2004 @ 08:42 pm
Number Theory  
I'm reading this brilliant book, In Code: A Young Woman's Mathematical Journey by Sarah Flannery (co-authored with her pop).

There is a model for calculating primes that's been invalidated called the Euler formula. It fails at E(41).

E(n) = n^2 - n + 41
E(41) = 41^2 - 41 + 41 = 41 x 41

Now, that one's obvious (at least, I think so).

43 also fails. What's interesting to me about this, is that the formula doesn't fail until the one constant in the equation was hit. Obviously that it failed at 41 is no coincidence, since 41 - 41 = 0, leaving a non-prime producing equation, but is it a coincidence that it only begins to fail at 41?

Hunh.

Number theory is cool. I'd recommend this book to anyone, esp. parents of small children, network security geeks and math sluts, and am passing it on to domichan when I'm done.

Anyone read Simon Singh's Fermat's Last Theorem? She recommends it. I'm interested in your opinions if you have.
 
 
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Staxstaxxy on March 20th, 2004 05:27 am (UTC)
sign me up for it when she is done with it. mmmm Math...