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Topic: 1 as a prime number
Replies: 11   Last Post: Dec 9, 1997 11:13 AM

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John Conway

Posts: 2,238
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: 1 as a prime number
Posted: Dec 8, 1997 4:00 PM
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On Mon, 8 Dec 1997, mark snyder wrote:

> At 9:58 PM -0200 12/7/97, Julio Gonzalez Cabillon wrote:
> >At 07:47 PM 05/12/1997 GMT, Mark Snyder wrote:
> >>I have heard that until about 1800, 1 was considered to be a prime number.
> >>Is this correct?

> >
> >Not quite! JGC

>
> So what *is* correct?
>
>
> mark snyder
>

I answered this at some length a few days ago. The tradition
before this century (dating back to Euclid's Elements) was indeed
to count 1 as a prime, and even Lehmer's 1914 list of prime numbers to
10 million does so. But the many inconveniences it causes have
led people this century to put it into a new category, and call
it a "unit" rather than a prime.

John Conway





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