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Topic: 2 simple? questions and proposed answers
Replies: 4   Last Post: Jan 29, 2012 7:50 AM

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Kent Holing

Posts: 342
Registered: 12/3/04
2 simple? questions and proposed answers
Posted: Jan 6, 2012 10:27 AM
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I often get the following two questions from my non-mathematician friends.

Q1: Why is 1 not a prime? (It divides only 1 and itself.)

Q2: For a, b positive integers (say), why is (-a)(-b) = ab?

I could answer as follows (but with not exactly good success):

Answer to Q1:
If 1 is considered (defined) as a prime, then the fundamenal theorem of arithmetic is not true; and we mathematicians do not like that! Laymen response: !???

Answer to Q2: If not, the distributive law is not true, and we mathematicians do not like that either! Laymen response: !???

Do we have any better answers for our laymen friends?

Kent holing,
NORWAY



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