Largest Prime Number Found

By: Natalie Shepherd
By: Natalie Shepherd

A Michigan State University student has made math history, by finding the largest prime number ever known. Mike Shafer, 26, downloaded a computer program from the Web site mersenne.org, installed it on his computer, and last month, it found a more than 6.3 million digit prime number. Shafer says more than 200,000 computers around the world are searching for prime numbers.

Prime numbers are whole numbers that can only be divided by one and itself. Shafer's number is so large, that to print it would take 1,400 sheets of paper.

Shafer says he is very excited about the discovery, but expects a larger prime number to be discovered within a couple of years.


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