MAA Writing Awards
Wild and Wooley Numbers
Year of Award: 2007
Award: Lester R. Ford
Publication Information: The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 113, (2006), pp. 97-108
Summary: (from the author's abstract) This paper studies the multiplicative semigroup generated by all rationals of the form (3n+2)/(2n+1) for nonnegative integers n, together with 1/2. The subsemigroup of integers in this semigroup is called the wild integer semigroup, and the wild numbers are the irreducible elements in this subsemigroup. This paper presents evidence that the wild numbers consist of all the prime numbers p except 3. The subsemigroup of integers in the multiplicative semigroup generated by all rationals of the form (3n+2)/(2n+1) for nonnegative integers n is called the Wooley integer semigroup and its irreducible elements are called Wooley numbers. This semigroup is shown to be recursive, and various open problems are formulated about Wooley integers.