Portal:Number theory

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Introduction

A Lehmer sieve, which is a primitive digital computer once used for finding primes and solving simple Diophantine equations.

Number theory (or arithmetic or higher arithmetic in older usage) is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers. German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) said, "Mathematics is the queen of the sciences - and number theory is the queen of mathematics." Number theorists study prime numbers as well as the properties of objects made out of integers (e.g., rational numbers) or defined as generalizations of the integers (e.g., algebraic integers).

Integers can be considered either in themselves or as solutions to equations (Diophantine geometry). Questions in number theory are often best understood through the study of analytical objects (e.g., the Riemann zeta function) that encode properties of the integers, primes or other number-theoretic objects in some fashion (analytic number theory). One may also study real numbers in relation to rational numbers, e.g., as approximated by the latter (Diophantine approximation).

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