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On the myth of an ancient Chinese theorem about primality
Han, Qi1; Siu, Man-Keung2
AbstractIn the western world there is this myth that the ancient Chinese knew a special case of Fermat's Little Theorem and erroneously took it as a criterion for primality, namely, that n is a prime if and only if 2(n-1) - 1 is divisible by n. This article discusses how this myth might have come about, in particular tells the story of an investigation on number theory by Li Shanlan in the mid 19(th) century. The discussion touches upon the social history of the incident in connection with the polarized attitude different foreigners took towards Chinese mathematics at the time.
KeywordCarmichael Number Fermat's Little Theorem Li Shanlan
WOS HeadingsScience & Technology ; Physical Sciences
Indexed BySCI
WOS Research AreaMathematics
WOS SubjectMathematics
WOS IDWOS:000257574700008
Citation statistics
Document Type期刊论文
Affiliation1.Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Hist Nat Sci, Beijing, Peoples R China
2.Univ Hong Kong, Dept Math, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Peoples R China
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Han, Qi,Siu, Man-Keung. On the myth of an ancient Chinese theorem about primality[J]. TAIWANESE JOURNAL OF MATHEMATICS,2008,12(4):941-949.
APA Han, Qi,&Siu, Man-Keung.(2008).On the myth of an ancient Chinese theorem about primality.TAIWANESE JOURNAL OF MATHEMATICS,12(4),941-949.
MLA Han, Qi,et al."On the myth of an ancient Chinese theorem about primality".TAIWANESE JOURNAL OF MATHEMATICS 12.4(2008):941-949.
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