The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » sci.math.* » sci.math

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

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

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Kent Holing

Posts: 342
Registered: 12/3/04
2 simple? questions and proposed answers
Posted: Jan 6, 2012 10:27 AM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

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,

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.