I must confess, in general, I dislike numbers. I love math, but numbers just hurt my head. Not all numbers were created equal, however (yes, that is a really bad pun). Certain numbers are more fascinating than others. Take prime numbers, for example. Mathematicians continue to search for larger and larger prime numbers, and we just found another one.
A prime number is any integer that can be divided by only itself and one. Two is the only even prime number. Others include three, thirteen, and twenty-nine. The largest known prime number would fill over 3,000 pages. It's two to the exponent 43,112,609 minus one. Yeah, that's big.
What's the big deal about prime numbers? Surely they have no application in the real world! Those silly mathematicians are too lazy to do work, so they just sit around making up numbers all day! You might have been right, once. Then someone came along and built computers, and prime numbers now have purpose!
All integers (whole numbers) can be broken down into a unique combination of primes. For example, 10 is the product of two prime numbers, 2 and 5. Factorization is the operation of finding a number's prime factors;…