Home Page of John B. Cosgrave


Welcome to my Home Page

In one corner of my web site (Fermat6) is an unpublished paper of mine, 'Could there exist a sixth Fermat prime? I believe it is not impossible.' At the top of that paper I wrote: 

For my wife, Mary, and in memory of my parents Annie Sands (1900-1967) and Seán Cosgrave (1906-1995)

and now, as I make my final additions to my site, I repeat that same dedication.

Here is a photograph with my parents in it (from the left: Mum, Mrs Murray, Anne McDonagh, Dad, and ?) at their school in Bailieboro, taken in the early 1960s; and here is one of my mother's garden - a beautiful place - at the back of our home in Henry Street, Bailieboro. Dad did some gardening - always in a suit - but it was Mum's garden. I used to love climbing those trees at the bottom of the garden. Once, when I was perhaps ten years old, with a nearby tree (which I later tried to paint, in London, when I was a student there), I turned my back on it, and wondered if it was still there... I tried turning quickly to see if I would find that it had gone away... Many years later I read somewhere - in Bertrand Russell? - that others had done that over the years.

There are many more photographs of my parents, family, and friends in the Autobiography corner of my web site.


" Do not be too concerned about your current disappointment. The best that any mathematician can really hope for is to prove some first class theorems and have them understood  and appreciated by a few good mathematicians..."

Marco Schutzenberger, from G.E.Andrews' (we are in the same photo here) article "Some debts I owe''.

Kazuya Kato's PRIME NUMBERS poem sums up my own feelings about them.


A fiftieth anniversary edition of Constance Reid's FROM ZERO TO INFINITY was published in January 2007 (see an MAA review here). I was absolutely delighted that Constance Reid quoted from a September 1999 email of mine in her two new pages 'What mathematicians and teachers write about FROM ZERO TO INFINITY.' That 1999 initial contact with Constance Reid resulted from an August 1999 email that I sent to the Number Theory Mailing List. To see what Constance quoted you will have to buy her wonderful book, the book that determined the course of my mathematical life. I shall always treasure the signed copy of the 50th anniversary edition which Constance sent to me. (Here is the cover of my 1959 copy.)

My author royalties from the sale of Folding Landscapes' A Prime For The Millennium booklet (an explanatory email to my niece Jo and nephew Ben) go to the Irish Cancer Society. See the Millennium prime booklet section of my site for further details.

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A painting by Leeds based artist Tom Marine of the 2000-digit prime was purchased by Turlough Sheehan (Director of Consolidated Distributions Services Ltd.), knowing that Tom would divide the entire amount between the NSPCC (UK) and the Irish Cancer Society. I gave the background to that sale in An Irishman's Diary column (written by me), published by the Irish Times on Tuesday 22nd February 2000. The unedited version of my column article (which contains a  reference to D.H. Lehmer, which was omitted in the Irish Times edited version) may be viewed in the Irishman's Diary section of my site.
A review ("I loved this book. It is unique and wonderful.") by Jerry Verrier which appeared in the Galway Advertiser on Thursday 17th February 2000 may be viewed here
    A brief review ("The booklet is charming, the story well told,") by Fernando Q. Gouvêa in the Mathematical Association of America web site may be accessed here.
Please tell your family, friends, neighbours (in the USA your neighbors), colleagues, ... about this booklet. Buy a copy for yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbours, ... . If you want a signed copy, at no extra charge!, just ask... , but you will have to be here in Dublin. Our own signed copy from Tim and Máiréad.
A photograph taken by my wife, Mary, at the Kennys Bookshop launch on Friday 3rd December 1999 of A Prime For The Millennium; left to right are unknown, myself, Tim Robinson, and Tom Kenny's left elbow.

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There is another photograph from the Kennys launch in the Photographs section of my site.

BAILIEBOROUGH (A PICTORIAL PAST), by Leslie McKeague, is a wonderful tribute to my hometown of Bailieborough, County Cavan.



Contact details. jbcosgrave at gmail.com