Millennium Primes
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Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)  
The arrival of the year 1999 and the impending transition to 2000 has captured the attention of people who like to play with integers. Consider 1999. It's a prime number, meaning that it is evenly divisible only by itself and 1 (see Prime Talent). As it happens, 1997 is also a prime number. The pair 1997 and 1999 is an example of what are known as twin primes. The next pair doesn't come up until 2027 and 2029. No one has yet established whether there are infinitely many twin primes, p and p + 2. It's one of the major unsolved problems in number theory (see Prime Theorem of the Century). Clearly, 2000 is not a prime number...  


Levels:  Middle School (68), High School (912), College 
Languages:  English 
Resource Types:  Articles 
Math Topics:  Prime Numbers 
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