A prime number is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. A natural number greater than 1 that is not a number is called a composite number. For example,5 is prime because 1 and 5 are its only positive integer factors, the property of being prime is called primality. A simple but slow method of verifying the primality of a number n is known as trial division. It consists of testing whether n is a multiple of any integer between 2 and n, algorithms much more efficient than trial division have been devised to test the primality of large numbers. Particularly fast methods are available for numbers of forms, such as Mersenne numbers. As of January 2016, the largest known prime number has 22,338,618 decimal digits, there are infinitely many primes, as demonstrated by Euclid around 300 BC. There is no simple formula that separates prime numbers from composite numbers. However, the distribution of primes, that is to say, many questions regarding prime numbers remain open, such as Goldbachs conjecture, and the twin prime conjecture. Such questions spurred the development of branches of number theory. Prime numbers give rise to various generalizations in other domains, mainly algebra, such as prime elements. A natural number is called a number if it has exactly two positive divisors,1 and the number itself. Natural numbers greater than 1 that are not prime are called composite, among the numbers 1 to 6, the numbers 2,3, and 5 are the prime numbers, while 1,4, and 6 are not prime. 1 is excluded as a number, for reasons explained below. 2 is a number, since the only natural numbers dividing it are 1 and 2. Next,3 is prime, too,1 and 3 do divide 3 without remainder, however,4 is composite, since 2 is another number dividing 4 without remainder,4 =2 ·2. 5 is again prime, none of the numbers 2,3, next,6 is divisible by 2 or 3, since 6 =2 ·3. The image at the right illustrates that 12 is not prime,12 =3 ·4, no even number greater than 2 is prime because by definition, any such number n has at least three distinct divisors, namely 1,2, and n
Demonstration, with Cuisenaire rods, that the number 7 is prime, being divisible only by 1 and 7
Plot of the zeta function ζ(s). At s=1, the function has a pole, that is to say, it tends to infinity.
Image: Ulam 2
The number 12 is not a prime, as 12 items can be placed into 3 equal-size columns of 4 each (among other ways). 11 items cannot be all placed into several equal-size columns of more than 1 item each without some extra items leftover (a remainder). Therefore, the number 11 is a prime.