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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Latest prime number discovery mind-bogglingly enormous | Complete Colorado

We have a winner! In December, Patrick LaRoche of Ocala, Fla., discovered the largest prime number known to humanity, observes Barry Fagin, Senior Fellow in Technology Policy at the Independence Institute, free maret think tank in Denver, and a Professor of Computer Science.  

Geralt/Pixabay [Licensed under CC0 Creative Commons]

It’s got almost 25 million digits. Just writing it down would take you a couple of years. Provided you didn’t take a vacation.

A prime number is a number greater than 1 that is divisible only by 1 and itself. For example, 2, 3, 5, and 7 are primes. 6, 8, 9 and 10 are not. Primes have fascinated humans ever since we learned to count, because they are the fundamental building blocks of arithmetic. And yet, there is no known pattern to them.

They’re just out there, waiting to be found.

How many primes are there? Over two thousand years ago, the Greek mathematician Euclid proved they were infinite in number. That’s how long we’ve been studying these strange beasts of the counting world...

For the past few decades, the largest known primes have been what are known as Mersenne Primes. Marin Mersenne was a Catholic priest and theologian who lived in the 17th century. He was also a gifted scientist and mathematician. The primes that bear his name are of a special form that makes them easy to test quickly, even though at this point they’re now mind-bogglingly enormous.

The new champion is the 51st Mersenne Prime. It will bear Laroche’s name for all eternity. How big is it, you ask? 

Source: Complete Colorado