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Martin Gardner's Lucky Number

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Author:Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)
Description: Hunting for prime numbers, those evenly divisible only by themselves and 1, requires a sieve to separate them from the rest. For example, the sieve of Eratosthenes, named for a Greek mathematician of the third century B.C., generates a list of prime numbers by the process of elimination. Other types of sieves isolate different sequences of numbers. Around 1955, the mathematician Stanislaw Ulam (1909-1984) identified a particular sequence made up of what he called "lucky numbers," and mathematicians have been playing with them ever since. This particular sieving process yields certain numbers that permanently escape getting killed. That's why Ulam called them "lucky."

Levels: Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College
Languages: English
Resource Types: Problems/Puzzles, Articles
Math Topics: Number Sense/About Numbers, Prime Numbers

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