Number theory is one of the oldest branches of pure mathematics, and one of the largest. Of course, it concerns questions about numbers, usually meaning whole numbers or rational numbers (fractions).

Elementary number theory involves divisibility among integers -- the division "algorithm", the Euclidean algorithm (and thus the existence of greatest common divisors), elementary properties of primes (the unique factorization theorem, the infinitude of primes), congruences (and the structure of the sets Z/nZ as commutative rings), including Fermat's little theorem and Euler's theorem extending it. But the term "elementary" is usually used in this setting only to mean that no advanced tools from other areas are used -- not that the results themselves are simple. Indeed, a course in "elementary" number theory usually includes classic and elegant results such as Quadratic Reciprocity; counting results using the MÃ¶bius Inversion Formula (and other multiplicative number-theoretic functions); and even the Prime Number Theorem, asserting the approximate density of primes among the integers, which has difficult but "elementary" proofs. Other topics in elementary number theory -- the solutions of sets of linear congruence equations (the Chinese Remainder Theorem), or solutions of single binary quadratic equations (Pell's equations and continued fractions), or the generation of Fibonacci numbers or Pythagorean triples -- turn out in retrospect to be harbingers of sophisticated tools and themes in other areas.