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Number Theory
General
•
It is at this point that we encounter a change: people working on mathematics of no obvious
value to common people doing their daily work.
•
Number theory is used in cryptography and cosmology. Strong students with knowledge of
number theory are in demand at the National Security Agency. But these uses came late and
as an afterthought.
•
What is/was the justiFcation?
◦
Stobaeus,
Extracts
: “A youth who had begun to read geometry with Euclid, when he had
learnt the Frst proposition, inquired, ‘What do I get by learning these things?’ So Euclid
called a slave and said ‘Give him threepence, since he must make a gain out of what he
learns.”’
◦
Henri Poincare,
The Value of Science
: “The search for truth should be the goal of our
activities; it is the sole end worthy of them. Doubtless we should Frst bend our e±orts
to assuage human su±ering, but why? Not to su±er is a negative ideal more surely
attained by the annihilation of the world. If we wish more and more to free man from
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This note was uploaded on 12/29/2011 for the course MATH 378 taught by Professor Wen during the Fall '10 term at SUNY Stony Brook.
 Fall '10
 wen
 Number Theory, Cryptography

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