This Day in History: February 23

      February 2017
Today: October 24, 2017
Prime Number Theorist Derrick Lehmer Born

February 23, 1905

Prime Number Theorist Derrick Lehmer Born

Derrick Lehmer, one of the world's best known prime number theorists, is born in Berkeley, California. Before World War II, Lehmer invented a number of electromechanical sieves for finding prime numbers and made many important contributions in prime number theory throughout his life. Prime numbers are of interest in themselves as mathematical curiosities but are also of great importance to cryptography. The Computer History Museum has three Lehmer sieves in its permanent collection. Lehmer died in 1991.