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Saturday, December 22, 2018

The World Has A New Largest-Known Prime Number | Science - NPR

Joe Palca, science correspondent for NPR summarizes, There's a new behemoth in the ongoing search for ever-larger prime numbers — and it's nearly 25 million digits long.

Photo: Marin Mersenne
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A prime is a number that can be divided only by two other whole numbers: itself and 1. The newly discovered number is what's known as a Mersenne prime, named for a French monk named Marin Mersenne who studied primes some 350 years ago. 

Mersenne primes have a simple formula: 2n-1. In this case, "n" is equal to 82,589,933, which is itself a prime number. If you do the math, the new largest-known prime is a whopping 24,862,048 digits long. 

We would write the number out for you, but it would fill up thousands of pages, give or take, and look like this gigantic zip file... 

Chris Caldwell, a mathematician at the University of Tennessee, Martin, talked to NPR in 2009 about these large primes.

"Mersennes, in a way, are kind of like a large diamond," Caldwell said back in 2009. Think about the Hope Diamond, a 45.52-carat diamond that sits in a special case in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, usually with crowds around it.
Read more... 

Source: NPR