Mathematician:Frank Nelson Cole

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American mathematician famous for finding the factors of the Mersenne number $M_{67}$. (It had already been demonstrated by Édouard Lucas in $1876$ that it is not prime, but till this time the factors had not been found.) Cole's demonstration of this in $1903$ took the form of a now famous lecture On The Factorization of Large Numbers in which he performed the necessary arithmetic on a blackboard, delivering the only totally wordless lecture in recorded history.

The American Mathematical Society's Cole Prize was named in his honor.




  • Born: September 20, 1861
  • Died: May 26, 1926

Theorems and Definitions


  • 1890: The linear functions of a complex variable
  • 1892: The Diurnal Variation of Barometric Pressure
  • 1892: The theory of substitutions and its applications to algebra
  • 1903: On The Factorization of Large Numbers (lecture)
  • 1913: The triad systems of thirteen letters

Notable Quotes

Three years of Sundays.