Untouchable number

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List of unsolved problems in mathematics
Are there any odd Untouchable numbers other than 5?

An untouchable number is a positive integer that cannot be expressed as the sum of all the proper divisors of any positive integer (including the untouchable number itself).

For example, the number 4 is not untouchable as it is equal to the sum of the proper divisors of 9: 1 + 3 = 4. The number 5 is untouchable as it is not the sum of the proper divisors of any positive integer: 5 = 1 + 4 is the only way to write 5 as the sum of distinct positive integers including 1, but if 4 divides a number, 2 does also, so 1 + 4 cannot be the sum of all of any number's proper divisors (since the list of factors would have to contain both 4 and 2).

The first few untouchable numbers are:

2, 5, 52, 88, 96, 120, 124, 146, 162, 188, 206, 210, 216, 238, 246, 248, 262, 268, 276, 288, 290, … (sequence A005114 in OEIS)

The number 5 is believed to be the only odd untouchable number, but this has not been proven: it would follow from a slightly stronger version of the Goldbach conjecture.[1] Thus it appears that besides 2 and 5, all untouchable numbers are composite numbers. No perfect number is untouchable, since, at the very least, it can be expressed as the sum of its own proper divisors.

There are infinitely many untouchable numbers, a fact that was proven by Paul Erdős.[2]

No untouchable number is one more than a prime number, since if p is prime, then the sum of the proper divisors of p2 is p + 1. Also, no untouchable number is three more than a prime number, except 5, since if p is an odd prime then the sum of the proper divisors of 2p is p + 3.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The stronger version is obtained by adding to the Goldbach conjecture the further requirement that the two primes be distinct - see Adams-Watters, Frank and Weisstein, Eric W., "Untouchable Number", MathWorld.
  2. ^ P. Erdos, Über die Zahlen der Form \sigma(n)-n und n-\phi(n). Elemente der Math. 28 (1973), 83-86, [1]

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