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Re: [PrimeNumbers] I need a little help

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  • Edwin Clark
    ... One problem in searching the mathematical literature for something is knowing what names others may have given to the object of interest. For example about
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 28, 2004
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      On Wed, 28 Jan 2004, scotty4686 wrote:

      > I have a theory and I have been researching it for a few days and I
      > haven't found anything like it. I need to know where I can find if it
      > has been made before but I don't want it to be stolen. So, if someone
      > could show me a safe place to do that I would much appreciate it.

      One problem in searching the mathematical literature for something is
      knowing what names others may have given to the object of interest. For
      example about 10 years ago a couple of us were looking at subsets S of a
      semigroup M that satisfy the property x,y in S ==> xy is NOT in S. We
      figured that someone had looked at such sets before, but couldn't think of
      what to look for, we thought of anti-subsemigroup, explosive subsets, and
      other such things. A year later I happen accidentally across a book which
      contained an article on sum-free set of integers. Which in case the binary
      operation is addition is exactly what we had been looking at. There were
      lots of papers on the subject.

      But one thing you can do is if you have a formula of some kind that gives
      an integer value f(n) for n = 1, n = 2, n = 3, ... and if you can
      calculate a few terms, say, f(1),f(2),f(3),f(4). --then you can look this
      sequence up in Sloane's wonderful Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences at
      and there is a pretty good possibility that you will find out something
      about what you are looking for and if you are lucky (or unlucky--if you
      didn't want it to be previously known) you may find references there.

      You should also search the usual sites on the web. Assuming it is number
      theory if you try different combinations of words and formulas you just
      may find something by Googling around.

      If you are willing to give us some hints of the general topic without
      giving away your discovery, someone here may be able to direct you to a
      place you may find something.

      If you are at a university or college whose library subscribes to
      MathSciNet, you should by all means search there. It contains abstracts of
      almost all mathematical papers published in the world since 1940. It is
      run by the American Mathematical Society. Unfortunately it is not
      free. Libraries have to pay a lot for it. But you should be able to walk
      off the street into any library that carries it and use it. As with Google
      it requires skill and some luck to find what you are looking for.

      Some people find it easier to just write up a discovery and send it to a
      journal for publication. If it is not new or sufficiently interesting you
      will usually be told. In my opinion there is very little chance of an idea
      being stolen by a referee or editor from an article submitted for
      publication. It may have happened, but I'm sure it is extremely rare and
      not something to worry about.

      Good luck with your discovery,


      W. Edwin Clark, Math Dept, University of South Florida,
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