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Prime numbers aren’t acting random. Some discoveries have no practical application – except to challenge fundamental perspectives on reality. So, no biggie. Recently a lack of randomness was discovered in prime numbers. For prime numbers above 10 there should be a random distribution of the last digits. Above 10, no primes end in an even number or 5. There should be an equal likelihood that the next prime ends in a 1, 3, 7, or 9 – but they don’t. Such discoveries suggest an underlying order that has not been considered. While the phenomenon just sounds like a geek’s conundrum, it reinforces the possibility that our system of math, the system that underlies all of our technological and financial systems, is flawed. Previous math systems persisted for centuries until simple discoveries changed them. The existence of zero was a revolution. The utility of arabic numerals and the decimal also radically changed civilization. Maybe this lack of randomness is a curiosity, but it may also presage a practical and positive improvement in our understanding of math and reality. No biggie.

(Click on the image for the link.)

One thought on “Math Weirdness

  1. Primes are important in encryption I believe, so this may have implications there. I also suggest this doesn’t mean our system is flawed, but maybe that we just haven’t completely understood it yet.

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