My goal in writing this text has been to write an accessible and inviting introduction to number theory. Foremost, I wanted to create an effective tool for teaching and learning. I hoped to capture the richness and beauty of the subject and its unexpected usefulness. Number theory is both classical and modem, and, at the same time, both pure and applied. In this text, I have strived to capture these contrasting aspects of number theory. I have worked hard to integrate these aspects into one cohesive text.
This book is ideal for an undergraduate number theory course at any level. No formal prerequisites beyond college algebra are needed for most of the material, other than some level of mathematical maturity. This book is also designed to be a source book for elementary number theory; it can serve as a useful supplement for computer science courses and as a primer for those interested in new developments in number theory and cryptography. Because it is comprehensive, it is designed to serve both as a textbook and as a lifetime reference for elementary number theory and its wide-ranging applications.
This edition celebrates the silver anniversary of this book. Over the past 25 years, close to 100,000 students worldwide have studied number theory from previous editions. Each successive edition of this book has benefited from feedback and suggestions from many instructors, students, and reviewers. This new edition follows the same basic approach as all previous editions, but with many improvements and enhancements. I invite instructors unfamiliar with this book, or who have not looked at a recent edition, to carefully examine the sixth edition. I have confidence that you will appreciate the rich exercise sets, the fascinating biographical and historical notes, the up-to-date coverage, careful and rigorous proofs, the many helpful examples, the rich applications, the support for computational engines such as Maple and Mathematica, and the many resources available on the Web.