Formula for Primes?

Is there a nice cozy formula that will always spit out primes? Try this one: f(n) = n2 + n + 41.

Euler discovered that this formula has a long string of prime values: it is prime for all n between 0 and 39 inclusive. However, it is not prime for all integers. In fact, it can be shown that no non-constant polynomial with integral coefficients will always spit out primes at the natural numbers.

There are formulas which always spit out primes when you plug in a natural number… here’s one (Mills, 1947): greatest integer less than (X raised to 3n),
where X is approximately 1.3064… Surprised? See the remark below!

The Math Behind the Fact:
It is worth pointing out that while the formula above looks nice, it is useless… it grows too quickly, and to determine X is tantamount to knowing the primes in its range!

How to Cite this Page: 
Su, Francis E., et al. “Formula for Primes?.” Math Fun Facts. <>.

P. Ribenboim, The Little Book of Big Primes

Fun Fact suggested by:
Francis Su

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