Radical of an integer

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In number theory, the radical of a positive integer n is defined as the product of the distinct prime numbers dividing n (each prime factor of n occurs exactly once as a factor of the product mentioned):

\displaystyle\mathrm{rad}(n)=\prod_{\scriptstyle p\mid n\atop p\text{ prime}}p


Radical numbers for the first few positive integers are

1, 2, 3, 2, 5, 6, 7, 2, 3, 10, ... (sequence A007947 in OEIS).

For example,

504 = 2^3 \cdot 3^2 \cdot 7

and therefore

\mathrm{rad}(504) = 2 \cdot 3 \cdot 7 = 42


The function \mathrm{rad} is multiplicative (but not completely multiplicative).

The radical of any integer n is the largest square-free divisor of n and so also described as the square-free kernel of n.[1] The definition is generalized to the largest t-free divisor of n, \mathrm{rad}_t, which are multiplicative functions which act on prime powers as

\mathrm{rad}_t(p^e) = p^{\mathrm{min}(e, t - 1)}

The cases t=3 and t=4 are tabulated in OEISA007948 and OEISA058035.

One of the most striking applications of the notion of radical occurs in the abc conjecture, which states that, for any ε > 0, there exists a finite Kε such that, for all triples of coprime positive integers ab, and c satisfying a + b = c,

c < K_\varepsilon\, \operatorname{rad}(abc)^{1 + \varepsilon}

Furthermore, it can be shown that the nilpotent elements of \mathbb{Z}/n\mathbb{Z} are all of the multiples of rad(n).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (sequence A007947 in OEIS)