Here’s something amazing — a machine made of fractions:
Start with the number 2 as your seed. Multiply it by each of the fractions above, in order, until you find one that produces an integer. (It’s 15/2.) Now adopt that integer (15) as the new seed, and multiply that by each of the fractions until you produce another integer. Keep this up, making a note whenever you produce a power of 2.
The first such power (4, or 22) appears after 19 steps. Fifty steps later, 23 turns up. Then 25 appears about 200 steps further on. A pattern emerges: the exponents are 2, 3, 5 …
It turns out that “these fourteen fractions alone have it in them to produce an infinity of primes, even those that no one yet knows about,” writes Dominic Olivastro. “There is something enormously magical about it.” John Horton Conway devised the technique; it’s an instance of his Fractran computing algorithm.