Date: Wed, 03 Sep 1997 19:31:50 -0700
Subject: prime numbers
Hi. I have a real stupid question
What are prime numbers?
My name is Jack and I am in grade 5.
I am typing this on my neighbours computer
Jack, your question is far from stupid; it is very important. Prime numbers
are special integers (counting numbers) that don't have divisors bigger
than 1 other than themselves.
The primes are 2,3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23,19,31,37, ....
There are infinitely many of them. You should check that other small
numbers are not prime -- for example 2 goes into 4 or 6 or 8 and so on so
that 4, 6, ... are not primes. Another example, 35 is not prime since
it is 5 times 7.
Mathematicians are interested in the prime numbers because they form the building blocks for the natural numbers in the same way that atoms form the building blocks for more complex molecules. Every natural number can be factored into a product of prime numbers, the prime numbers being the indivisible "atoms" of our number system.
Hope this helps!
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