Goodbye to 2017, a Prime, Sexy, Odious YearBloombergOpinion
And it’s not just any prime. It’s half of what mathematicians call a “sexy prime pair.” Before you get any abnormal impressions of mathematicians, I should clarify: Here, “sexy” comes from “sexa,” the Latin root for “six.” The term means that 2,017 is separated from another prime, in this case 2,011, by exactly 6.
That’s not all. If we multiply 2,017 by pi — the ancient constant that equals the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter — and then round to the nearest integer, we get another prime number: 6,337. We also get a prime if we start with 2,017 and tack on every decimal digit at the end to get 20,170,123,456,789.
So what should we expect from 2018? Next year isn't a prime number, but it’s about as close as you can get: 2,018 only has two factors — it’s 2 times 1,009. That makes it semiprime, not to be confused with subprime (a type of loan). And 2,018 is also a prime-part-partition number, but that’s a story for next December.
In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed your prime time while you had it. The next prime year after 2017 is 2027, a decade away. Hmm, now add 2 + 0 + 1 + 7 to 2,017 and see what you get.
Happy New Year x 10!
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Scott Duke Kominers is the MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics. Previously, he was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and the inaugural research scholar at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago.
I’m not the only one who thinks this way check out this post by TJ Wei from earlier this year, and this one from the Mathematical Association of America which for some reason was posted in
That’s not mathematical social commentary it just means that the binary expansion has an odd number of ones.
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