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A235366 Smallest odd prime factor of 3^n - 1. 7
13, 5, 11, 7, 1093, 5, 13, 11, 23, 5, 797161, 547, 11, 5, 1871, 7, 1597, 5, 13, 23, 47, 5, 11, 398581, 13, 5, 59, 7, 683, 5, 13, 103, 11, 5, 13097927, 1597, 13, 5, 83, 7, 431, 5, 11, 47, 1223, 5, 491, 11, 13, 5, 107, 7, 11, 5, 13, 59, 14425532687, 5, 603901, 683, 13, 5, 11, 7, 221101, 5, 13, 11 (list; graph; refs; listen; history; text; internal format)
OFFSET

3,1

COMMENTS

Levi Ben Gerson (1288-1344) proved that 3^n - 1 = 2^m has no solution in integers if n > 2, by showing that 3^n - l has an odd prime factor. His proof uses remainders after division of powers of 3 by 8 and powers of 2 by 8; see the Lenstra and Peterson links. For an elegant short proof, see the Franklin link. - Sondow

One way to prove it is by the use of congruences. The powers of 3, modulo 80, are 3, 9, 27, 1, 3, 9, 27, 1, 3, 9, 27, 1, ... The powers of 2 are 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 48, 16, 32, 64, 48, 16, ... - Alonso del Arte, Jan 20 2014

REFERENCES

L. E. Dickson, History of the Theory of Numbers, Vol. II, Chelsea, NY 1992; see p. 731.

LINKS

Charles R Greathouse IV, Table of n, a(n) for n = 3..660

P. Franklin, Problem 2927, Amer. Math. Monthly, 30 (1923), p. 81.

A. Herschfeld, The equation 2^x - 3^y = d, Bull. Amer. Math. Soc., 42 (1936), 231-234.

H. Lenstra Harmonic Numbers, MSRI, 1998.

J. J. O'Connor and E. F. Robertson, Levi ben Gerson, The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, 2009.

I. Peterson, Medieval Harmony, Math Trek, MAA, 2012.

Wikipedia, Gersonides

FORMULA

a(4n) = 5 as 3^(4n)-1 = (3^4)^n-1 = 81^n-1 = (80+1)^n-1 == 0 (mod 5).

a(6+12n) = 7 as 3^(6+12n)-1 = (3^6)^(1+2n)-1 = 729^(1+2n)-1 = (728+1)^(1+2n)-1 == 1^(1+2n)-1 == 0 (mod 7), but 729^(1+2n)-1 = (730-1)^(1+2n)-1 == (-1)^(1+2n)-1 == -2 (mod 5).

EXAMPLE

3^3 - 1 = 26 = 2 * 13, so a(3) = 13.

3^4 - 1 = 80 = 2^4 * 5, so a(4) = 5.

3^5 - 1 = 242 = 2 * 11^2, so a(5) = 11.

MATHEMATICA

Table[FactorInteger[3^n - 1][[2, 1]], {n, 3, 50}]

PROG

(PARI) a(n)=factor(3^n>>valuation(3^n-1, 2))[1, 1] \\ Charles R Greathouse IV, Jan 20 2014

CROSSREFS

See A235365 for 3^n + 1.

Cf. also A003586 (products 2^m * 3^n), A006899, A061987, A108906.

Sequence in context: A098326 A302208 A068662 * A166207 A121230 A299959

Adjacent sequences:  A235363 A235364 A235365 * A235367 A235368 A235369

KEYWORD

nonn

AUTHOR

Jonathan Sondow, Jan 19 2014

STATUS

approved

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Last modified August 26 03:16 EDT 2019. Contains 326324 sequences. (Running on oeis4.)