One of the few consolations of exam marking is the innocent fun we get from things our students write under the stress of exam conditions.
I think the students are getting better, since such moments seem to be rarer. Here are a few gleaned from the last couple of years’ Number Theory scripts.
- The value of this infinite continued fraction is infinite and gets successively smaller. [Come again?]
- x2+y2 = p, where p is prime, if and only if the squarefree part of p is a quadratic irrational. [This is someone trying to touch every base in the course, I think.]
- √2 is an infinite number. [Eat your heart out Cantor, Pythagoras beat you by two millennia!]
- Primitive root means we have to find the power. [I feel a superhero adventure coming on…]