As editors we regularly need to decide whether or not to
add a curio. The key question is will people find it
curios (interesting, though-provoking, ...)? The
"better" curios make the whole collection better. The
"poorer" curios discourage folks from reading any
further. Of course "better", "poorer", "interesting",
even "curious" are all relative terms! Here are a few
pointers to keep in mind:
What makes a curios "better" (and likely to be accepted)
What makes a curio "poorer" (and likely to be
- Using an active voice to write terse and lively
- Correct spelling and grammar.
- The use of standard mathematical terminology,
notation and symbols.
- That little extra--"the only example of" of the
"smallest prime such that".
- Combining different ideas. (Not just "a
palindrome", there are too many of these, but "the
largest palindrome ever spoken by a US president in an
- A surprise element. "I wouldn't have guessed
- Written about a prime number which has no curios yet.
Does this mean a Curio with one (or more) of the
better characteristics will always be accepted and one with
the poorer will not? No. These are just rough
guidelines. We always want to encourage experimentation and
creativity. A hard and fast set of rules would make a
- An empty phrase such as "an interesting prime" or "a
curios looking prime."
- Special terminology, especial names you made up: "A
nacho-Brunner prime of the third spiral."
- Errors, even if common (such as 11 is the sum of the
first four primes).
- Worded so that it is only true for at a specific
time. For example "the largest known twin prime"
should be reworded "On July 17th, 2001, this new record
twin prime was discovered."
- Being like other entries (or likely to spawn many
similar entries)! Some things are interesting once.
A very few things twice. But virtually nothing is
interesting twenty times in a row.
- A statement that is too often true such as "n
is a plateau prime" (there are probably infinitely many
of these) or "the integer part of *e7 is a prime" (there are
uncountably many such real numbers!)
- Written about a prime which already has an abundance
of curios (2, 3, 5, 7).
If more than seven curios are
submitted in a seven day period, the extras will be
deleted and never even seen by an editor.