What is a Prime Factor?
Prime factorization is the process of finding the prime numbers that are multiplied together to produce a given number. For example, 6 is 3 x 2, while 22 is 2 × 11.
Prime factorization can be computed with pencil and paper or with computer programs as some software programs are even designed for this specific task.
The Benefits of Using Prime Factorization
Prime factorization is a technique that has been used for centuries as evidenced in the ancient Plimpton 322 tablet.
The first mathematical use of prime factorization was done by the ancient Greeks who were looking for a solution to how to make long numbers easier to use. Prime factorization, or breaking a number down into its prime factors, makes it easier to find solutions and divide one number by another due to the simplification of fractions.
The use of prime factorization is not limited solely for math puzzles but can be applied in areas such as chemistry and engineering as well. In these cases, it is often referred to as "factorizing."