Prime time

I’ve been talking lately about coincidences, and that has gotten my mind wandering back to some of my all time favorites. I don’t ascribe any metaphysical meaning to them – as Tony pointed out the other day, we conveniently ignore life’s vastly larger number of non-coincidences – but a good coincidence sure is entertaining.

For example, I remember the year, when I was a teenager, that the ages of our entire family – my parents, my older brother, myself and my younger sister – were all prime numbers. We were, respectively: 47, 41, 19, 17 and 11. What’s even more fun than the fact itself is my memory of how completely delighted everyone in the family was to discover this little factoid.

At the time my Mom was pregnant with my soon-to-be youngest sister, so of course there was much debate over the dinner table about whether we could count the age of our forthcoming family member as -1. And if so, whether -1 is really a prime number (it fits the definition, being divisible only by itself and 1, which would make -1 the only negative prime – if you’re allowed to count negatives).

I’m not sure what any of this means, but one thing is clear: I was obviously born into the right family. :-)

One Response to “Prime time”

  1. John says:

    Prime numbers are cool. Perlin’s are cool.

    Curiously though 1 is not prime although 2 is.

    http://primes.utm.edu/lists/small/1000.txt

    Even stranger though, Ken is both Prime and a Perlin.

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