Posted by: hrummel | October 12, 2008

Largest Prime Number Found

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/36979/description/Largest_known_prime_number_found

This is Henrik Rummel posting by the way, I couldn’t log into my own blog so I’m using Jim’s. I found this article doing my daily rounds of CNN and then looking for the original article on the web. A computer at UCLA found a prime number with nearly 13million digits! The number is 2^(43,112,609)-1. It’s known as a Mersenne Prime number after someone who made a false theorem about them. It said in the article that the number of all the atoms in the universe is only about an 80 digit number, yet this one was 13million digits, and can’t be divided by anything except 1 and itself. That’s absurd. Also, if you used 12point font and you printed the number on a piece of paper it would stretch 30 miles. I’d be very excited to know the implications, if any, of finding this number. There must be something because they gave the finder $100,000 dollars. So if I could only find one really really cool prime number a year, I wouldn’t have to work much. Sounds like a good deal to me. Math in the news!

Henrik Rummel

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Responses

  1. When this was announced my relatives also wrote email to me asking “what is it good for?” Answer: not much, in itself, but see my post The importance of mathematics. Essentially, research is useful, you just can’t predict how!

    I used to participate in the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search when I was an undergraduate and it had just started. I didn’t find the prize, though. It’s kind of like a free lottery for your computer. You just let it run in the background while your computer is bored.


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