Teenager Solves Stubborn Riddle About Prime Number Look-Alikes


Teenager Solves Stubborn Riddle About Prime Number Look-Alikes

By Jordana Cepelewicz 
Quanta Magazine
9 min
October 13, 2022



In his senior year of high school, Daniel Larsen proved a key theorem about Carmichael numbers — strange entities that mimic the primes. “It would be a paper that any mathematician would be really proud to have written,” said one mathematician.

Introduction

When Daniel Larsen was in middle school, he started designing crossword puzzles. He had to layer the hobby on top of his other interests: chess, programming, piano, violin. He twice qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington, D.C., after winning his regional competition. “He gets focused on something, and it’s just bang, bang, bang, until he succeeds,” said Larsen’s mother, Ayelet Lindenstrauss. His first crossword puzzles were rejected by major newspapers, but he kept at it and ultimately broke in. To date, he holds the record for youngest person to publish a crossword in The New York Times, at age 13. “He’s very persistent,” Lindenstrauss said.

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