The Main Number Sections:

0 - 500 | 501 - 1000 | 1001 - 1500 | 1501 - 2000 | 2001 - 2500

Number Articles | Higher Numbers | Random Number

0 - 500 | 501 - 1000 | 1001 - 1500 | 1501 - 2000 | 2001 - 2500

Number Articles | Higher Numbers | Random Number

Just as atoms are the building blocks of elements, prime numbers are the building blocks of arithmetic. This comparison becomes justified when we consider that all composite numbers can be uniquely generated by a specific product of primes. This last statement is one of the most important in number theory and is known as the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic.

If you have forgotten your definitions, a

Take the number 56 for example. We can break this down using a factor tree and come up with the following prime number decomposition: 2 x 2 x 2 x 7. When breaking a composite number down into prime factors, all you really need do is familiarize yourself with the first 10 primes or so. These are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29. If a number is even, such as 56, keep breaking it down by 2's until you cannot; then proceed to eliminate the other prime factors accordingly. To make this procedure clearer, take the composite number 212. Since it is even, break it into

2 x 106. Since 106 is even, break this into 2 x 53. Since 53 is prime, we write

212 = 2 x 2 x 53.

Historically, primes were considered of interest for purely mathematical reasons. It was not until the 1970's when prime number theory found itself intricately entwined with RSA Cryptography, or the encoding of data. Now primes are recognized as integral to the internet commerce infrastructure by allowing secure transactions via computers. Without a solid understanding of these curious mathematical numbers, secure e-commerce would not be possible.

The

So the next time you think a number is a number is a number. Remember this is not the case at all. The wonderful world of primes teaches us that no type of number should be taken for granted. For who knows? Maybe if you give it enough thought, you might be able to find some exotic application for some types of numbers that are just studied now for purely mathematical reasons. Then you could become famous too.

See more of my articles here at Articles Page

and see my challenging brainteasers here at Problem of the Week and Cool Brain Teasers

Joe is a prolific writer of self-help and educational material and an award-winning former teacher of both college and high school mathematics. Joe is the creator of the Wiz Kid series of math ebooks, Arithmetic Magic, the little classic on the ABC's of arithmetic, the original collection of poetry, Poems for the Mathematically Insecure, and the short but highly effective fraction troubleshooter Fractions for the Faint of Heart. The diverse genre of his writings (novel, short story, essay, script, and poetry)-particularly in regard to its educational flavor- continues to captivate readers and to earn him recognition. Joe propagates his teaching philosophy through his articles and books and is dedicated to helping educate children living in impoverished countries. Toward this end, he donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every ebook. For more information go to http://www.mathbyjoe.com |

The Main Number Sections:

0 - 500 | 501 - 1000 | 1001 - 1500 | 1501 - 2000 | 2001 - 2500

Number Articles | Higher Numbers | Random Number

0 - 500 | 501 - 1000 | 1001 - 1500 | 1501 - 2000 | 2001 - 2500

Number Articles | Higher Numbers | Random Number

© Copyright VirtueScience.com: 2002 to 2022

**About VirtueScience**
| **Return to Top** | **Webmaster Resources**