Dr. M.A. Gopalan is currently Professor of Mathematics at Shrimati Indira
Gandhi College, Tiruchirappalli and has taught Mathematics for nearly three
decades. He is interested in problem solving in the area of Diophantine
equations and Number patterns. He serves on the editorial boards of IJPMS
and IJAR and a life member of Kerala Mathematics Association.
Mathematics is like a banyan tree and Number Theory (also known as Higher Arithmetic)
is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the natural numbers
which are the building blocks of the real number system. In fact, Number Theory is the
great and rich intellectual heritage of mankind and essentially a man-made world to meet
his ideals of intellectual perfection. For Plato, numbers were “the highest degree of
knowledge”. The same idea was taken up by Nicholas Cusanus, for whom “numbers are
the best means of approaching divine truths”. All these views go back to Pythagoras, for
whom “numbers alone allow us to grasp the true nature of the Universe”. German
Mathematician Hermann Minkowski once remarked “Integral numbers are the fountain
head of all the mathematics”.