Date: Thu, 17 Nov 94 17:53:06 EST From: Stephen MacKinnon Subject: a question Dear Dr. Math, What good are Perfect Numbers? Joe in Ontario
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 1994 13:23:39 -0500 (EST) From: Dr. Ken Subject: Re: a question Hello there! Perfect numbers. Well, depending on your point of view, they're either absolutely no good, or they're perfect. I mean, it's like asking "what good is Bach's Fifth Brandenburg Concerto?" Perfect numbers aren't going to do anybody any good, except maybe as an essay topic or something. But I find them pretty interesting. You know the definition of a perfect number, right? The sum of the proper divisors of a perfect number (proper divisors are the divisors of a number that aren't the number itself) is equal to the number itself. The first three perfect numbers are 6, 28, and 496. I should mention that while perfect numbers are cool, they've probably been given much more attention than they deserve, simply because of their name. The don't really come up much in other areas of math, they're just kind of an interesting phenomenon in themselves. -Ken "Dr." Math
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