Eratosthenes, sieve of

From Encyclopedia of Mathematics
Jump to: navigation, search

A method worked out by Eratosthenes (3rd century B.C.) for eliminating composite numbers from the sequence of natural numbers. The essence of the sieve of Eratosthenes consists in the following. First the number 1 is crossed out. Now 2 is a prime number. Next all numbers divisible by 2 are crossed out. Now 3, the first number not crossed out, is a prime number. Then all the numbers divisible by 3 are crossed out. Now 5, the first number not crossed out, is a prime number. Continuing in this way one can find an arbitrary large segment of the sequence of prime numbers. The sieve of Eratosthenes has been developed into other stronger sieve methods (see, for example, Brun sieve).


For references see Sieve method.

How to Cite This Entry:
Eratosthenes, sieve of. B.M. Bredikhin (originator), Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:,_sieve_of&oldid=17311
This text originally appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098