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Even and odd numbers
In mathematics, any integer (whole number) is either even or odd. If it is a multiple of two, it is an even number; otherwise, it is an odd number. Examples of even numbers are -4, 8, 0, and 70. Examples of odd numbers are -5, 1, and 71. The number zero is even, because it is equal to two multiplied by zero.
The set of even numbers can be written:
- Evens = 2Z = {..., -6, -4, -2, 0, 2, 4, 6, ...}.
The set of odd numbers can be shown like this:
- Odds = 2Z + 1 = {..., -5, -3, -1, 1, 3, 5, ...}.
A number expressed in the decimal numeral system is even or odd according to whether its last digit is even or odd. That is, if the last digit is 1, 3, 5, 7, or 9, then it's odd; otherwise it's even. The same idea will work using any even base. In particular, a number expressed in the binary numeral system is odd if its last digit is 1 and even if its last digit is 0. In an odd base, the number is even or odd according to the sum of its digits.
The even numbers form an ideal in the ring of integers, but the odd numbers do not. An integer is even if it is congruent to 0 modulo this ideal, in other words if it's congruent to 0 modulo 2, and odd if it is congruent to 1 modulo 2.
All prime numbers are odd, with one exception: the prime number 2. All known perfect numbers are even; it is unknown whether any odd perfect numbers exist.
Goldbach's conjecture states that every even integer greater than 2 can be represented as a sum of two prime numbers. Modern computer calculations have shown this conjecture to be true for integers up to at least 4 × 10^{14}, but still no general proof has been found.
In wind instruments which are cylindrical and closed at one end, such as the clarinet, the harmonics produced are odd multiples of the fundamental.
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Arithmetic on even and odd numbers
The following laws can be verified using the properties of divisibility and the fact that 2 is a prime number:
Addition and subtraction
- even ± even = even;
- even ± odd = odd;
- odd ± odd = even.
Multiplication
- even × even = even;
- even × odd = even;
- odd × odd = odd.
Division
The division of two whole numbers does not necessarily result in a whole number. For example, 1 divided by 4 equals 1/4, which isn't even or odd, since the concepts even and odd apply only to integers. But when the quotient is an integer:
- even / odd = even;
- odd / odd = odd;
- odd / even is never an integer;
- even / even could be either (or infinite).
See also
even permutation, parity, even function.