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Science in the News Twelve-Year Search Uncovers Two Massive Prime Numbers
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 10:06:40 -0400



Begin forwarded message:


from the San Diego Union-Tribune (Registration Required)
Quick, what's the biggest prime number you know? OK, here's some help: A prime number is a number divisible only by 1 and itself. Most folks can recite a handful of prime numbers, usually the first few: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11 and so on. According to the Greek mathematician Euclid, who invented geometry a few thousand years ago, there's actually no end to prime numbers. They just go on forever. [Last] week, two groups of mathematicians, including a San Diegan, announced they had discovered the two largest prime numbers yet. Neither goes on forever, but both numbers are too big to be printed in full here: One is 12,978,189 digits long; the other is 11,185,272 digits.
http://snipurl.com/3rzsf




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