The History of the Primality of One: A Selection of Sources
Chris K. Caldwell, Angela Reddick, and Yeng Xiong
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
University of Tennessee at Martin
Martin, TN 38238
The way mathematicians have viewed the number one (unity, the monad)
has changed throughout the years. Most of the early Greeks did not view
one as a number, but rather as the origin, or generator, of number.
Around the time of Simon Stevin (1548-1620), one (and zero) were first
widely viewed as numbers. This created a period of confusion about
whether or not the number one was prime. In this dynamic survey, we
collect a cornucopia of sources which deal directly with the "question
what is the smallest prime?" The goal is to create a source book for
studying the history of the definition of prime, especially as applied
to the number one.
Full version: pdf,
(Concerned with sequences
Received September 27 2012;
revised version received November 18 2012.
Published in Journal of Integer Sequences, December 27 2012.
Journal of Integer Sequences home page