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Prime

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The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, from around 1550 BC, has Egyptian fraction expansions of different forms for prime and composite numbers. However, the earliest surviving records of the explicit study of prime numbers come from Ancient Greek mathematics. Euclid's Elements (circa 300 BC) proves the infinitude of primes and the fundamental theorem of arithmetic, and shows how to construct a perfect number from a Mersenne prime. Another Greek invention, the Sieve of Eratosthenes, is still used to construct lists of primes. Around 1000 AD, the Islamic mathematician Alhazen found Wilson's theorem, characterizing the prime numbers as the numbers n{\displaystyle n} that evenly divide (n−1)!+1{\displaystyle (n-1)!+1}. Alhazen also conjectured that all even perfect numbers come from Euclid's construction using Mersenne primes, but was unable to prove it. Another Islamic mathematician, Ibn al-Banna' al-Marrakushi, observed that the sieve of Eratosthenes can be sped up by testing only the divisors up to the square root of the largest number to be tested. Fibonacci brought the innovations from Islamic mathematics back to Europe. His book Liber Abaci (1202) was the first to describe trial division for testing primality, again using divisors only up to the square root.

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