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Buzzard is correct to be skeptical of the most naive arguments: Erdos observed that $2^n + 9262111$ is never prime.

Question one is an incredibly classical problem, of course. Observe that the proof that $2^n + 3$ and $2^n + 5$ are both prime finitely often can plausibly work for a single expression $2^n + c$ for certain $c$. It suffices to find a finite set of pairs $(a,p)$ where $p$ are distinct primes such that every integer is congruent to $a$ modulo $p - 1$ for at least one pair $(a,p)$. Then take $-c$ to be congruent to $2^{a}$ modulo $p$. (Key phrase: covering congruences). I could write some more, but I can't really do any better than the following very nice elementary talk by Carl Pomerance:

www.math.dartmouth.edu/~carlp/PDF/covertalkunder.pdf

Apparently the collective number theory brain of mathoverflow is remaking 150 year old conjectures that have been known to be false for over 50 years! I was going to let this post consist of the first line, but I guess I'm feeling generous today. On the other hand, I'm increasingly doubtful that I'm going to get an answer to question 2339.

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Buzzard is correct to be skeptical of the most naive arguments: Erdos observed that $2^n + 9262111$ is never prime.

Question one is an incredibly classical problem, of course. Observe that the proof that $2^n + 3$ and $2^n + 5$ are both prime finitely often can plausibly work for a single expression $2^n + c$ for certain $c$. It suffices to find a finite set of pairs $(a,p)$ where $p$ are distinct primes such that every integer is congruent to $a$ modulo $p - 1$ for at least one pair $(a,p)$. Then take $-c$ to be congruent to $2^{a}$ modulo $p$. (Key phrase: covering congruences). I could write some more, but I can't really do any better than the following very nice elementary talk by Carl Pomerance:

www.math.dartmouth.edu/~carlp/PDF/covertalkunder.pdf

Apparently the collective number theory brain of mathoverflow is remaking 150 year old conjectures that have been known to be false for over 50 years! I was going to let this post consist of the first line, but I guess I'm feeling generous today. On the other hand, I'm increasingly doubtful that I'm going to get an answer to question 2339.