February 11, 2009

Superprime

I think I've always thought of Euclid's proof of the infinitude of primes as one of those magically-clear and simple things you can understand immediately you come across it but that seems to have come out of absolutely nowhere (Cantor's diagonal works for me in the same way as well). It's sometimes hard not to write about maths in mystical terms that get really boring to anyone not a nerd like me, but it's like seeing your first Rothko or Pollock in the flesh, that delicious mixture of recognition and where the hell did that come from?

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