A New Prime Number Was Discovered, and It's Probably Longer Than You'd Think

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Hold the phone, everyone.

Someone just discovered a new prime number, and it’s more than 22 million digits long.

What is a prime number, you ask? For those of you (like myself) who did poorly in math classes as a kid, a prime number is an integer that cannot be EVENLY divided into anything except for 1 and itself, and no, fractions don’t count. According to the completely un-ironically-titled website Math is Fun, it’s got to be an integer larger than one. So don’t even try to use negative numbers. This is pretty simple when it comes to math class, right?

If you feel so inclined to download this big number, YOU CAN! But I’ll warn you, it will take up 22.8 MB of space.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 11.32.42 AM.png

According to the other stuff on my Macbook, that’s even bigger than this Anderson East video. A simple text document of a (giant) string of numbers takes up more space than an .mp4 file. Process that for a second.

The new prime number was discovered by Curtis Cooper of the University of Central Missouri as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, also known as GIMPS. This prime number in particular is a Mersenne Prime, which means the number is (2^n)-1. This number, when not written out entirely, is (2^74,207,281)-1.

Math is cool, y’all.

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