Why Isn’t 1 a Prime Number?

Un magnífico post sobre la condición de primo (o no), del número 1

Math with Bad Drawings

Since time immemorial, humans have asked: Why are we here? What is our purpose?

I assure you that I have a beautiful and exhaustive answer to that question, which this blog post is unfortunately too small to contain, so let us instead discuss a question almost as rich and immortal: Why doesn’t 1 count as a prime number?

(The key to success, my friends: attainable goals.)

First, the typical student’s answer:


The student points to the common definition, something along the lines of: “a prime number is divisible by precisely two numbers: 1 and itself.” Since 1 is not divisible by two numbers, it is not prime.

This answer amounts to “because I said so.” Or perhaps more sympathetically, “Because my teacher and/or textbook said so.” It is an answer all about deference to power. It is not a wrong explanation, so much as a failure of explanation. Yes, the…

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