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Archive for History of Exact Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 265–326 | Cite as

The concept of “character” in Dirichlet’s theorem on primes in an arithmetic progression

  • Jeremy Avigad
  • Rebecca Morris
Article

Abstract

In 1837, Dirichlet proved that there are infinitely many primes in any arithmetic progression in which the terms do not all share a common factor. We survey implicit and explicit uses of Dirichlet characters in presentations of Dirichlet’s proof in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with an eye toward understanding some of the pragmatic pressures that shaped the evolution of modern mathematical method.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Department of Mathematical SciencesCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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