Arithmetic Progression of Primes

Top 20 Arithmetic Progression of Primes

by Chris Caldwell

The Prime Pages keeps a list of the 5000 largest known primes, plus a few each of certain selected archivable forms and classes. These forms are defined in this collection’s home page. This page is about one of those forms.

Definitions and Notes

Are there infinitely many primes in most arithmetic progressions?  Certainly not if the common difference has a prime factor in common with one of the terms (for example: 6, 9, 12, 15, …).  In 1837, Dirichlet proved that in all other cases the answer was yes:

Dirichlet’s Theorem on Primes in Arithmetic Progressions
If a and b are relatively prime positive integers, then the arithmetic progression a, a+b, a+2b, a+3b, … contains infinitely many primes.

Prime Arithmetic Progression

Prime Arithmetic Progression

By MathWorld

An arithmetic progression of primes is a set of primes of the form for fixed and and consecutive , i.e., . For example, 199, 409, 619, 829, 1039, 1249, 1459, 1669, 1879, 2089 is a 10-term arithmetic progression of primes with difference 210.

It had long been conjectured that there exist arbitrarily long sequences of primes in arithmetic progression (Guy 1994). As early as 1770, Lagrange and Waring investigated how large the common difference of an arithmetic progression of primes must be. In 1923, Hardy and Littlewood (1923) made a very general conjecture known as the k-tuple conjecture about the distribution of prime constellations, which includes the hypothesis that there exist infinitely long prime arithmetic progressions as a special case. Important additional theoretical progress was subsequently made by van der Corput (1939), who proved than there are infinitely many triples of primes in arithmetic progression, and Heath-Brown (1981), who proved that there are infinitely many four-term progressions consisting of three primes and a number that is either a prime or semiprime. Continue reading