The Legacy of Marin Mersenne: The Search for Primal Order and the Mentoring of Young Minds

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The search for prime numbers has long held a great fascination for mathematicians and for mathematics enthusiasts. Whether as a mathematical recreation or as a serious study within number theory, this quest has resulted in some profound mathematical advances and in a few surprising results that held some unforeseen applications and connections to other areas. For example, the problems of finding perfect numbers and constructible regular polygons have both been simplified through the search for prime numbers (Bell 1937, Clawson 1996).

Contributor Notes

Jeff Wanko,, is an assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Miami University in Oxford, OH 45056, where he teaches mathematics methods and content courses for preservice teachers. He is interested in number theory, geometry, puzzles, and the history of mathematics.

(Corresponding author is Wanko
The Mathematics Teacher


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