## Prime Numbers

Are \(0\), \(1\), and \(2\) prime numbers?

Why the pundits have included this topic in the math curriculum I don't know, but it seems to occasionally pop up in homework questions and on tests. Perhaps the justification is to better understand factor trees. The number \(60\), for example, can be treed into:

The numbers \(2\), \(3\), \(5\), are the prime factors of \(60\), which means they can not be further factored. In other words, \(2\) is not to be factored into \(2*1\), therefore \(2\) is considered prime.

A prime number is defined as being greater than \(1\), therefore \(0\) and \(1\) are not prime. A prime number is also defined as having exactly two factors: \(1\) and the number itself. Since \(0\) can not be factored by itself, it is not prime, and since \(1\) has only one factor (the number \(1\)), it is not prime.

John Schwarz