What Makes Prime Numbers So Fascinating?!

Prime numbers are numbers greater than one, which are divisible only by themselves and one. This means that no other numbers divide into prime numbers without leaving a remainder. Prime numbers are the "atoms" of arithmetic, as all numbers can be made by multiplying prime numbers together.

  • The list of prime numbers begins with 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, and it keeps on going. 

Although people have been fascinated by (and studying) prime numbers for millennia, it was only in the 20th century that these unique numbers started to have practical, worldwide impact in areas such as banking and internet encryption. Yet, prime numbers still remain mysterious to mathematicians, as no one has figured out a definite pattern to the primes.

Watch Muzology’s Mathematician-at-Large, James Tanton, PhD (founder of Global Math Project) explain more about prime numbers, rectangles, and their connection to the last/first days of the new year.

"You see the list of primes begins 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, and so on. Then you notice something very odd about the number 2 in this list of primes. It's the only even number in the list of prime numbers. . . That's kinda quirky!"

Dr. James Tanton

Watch the video to learn more about prime numbers, find out why 1 is not considered prime, and see how you can visualize prime and composite numbers.

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