Late last year, a researcher by the name of Patrick Laroche discovered the largest prime number that we know of, a monster of a number with 24,862,048 digits. But there is no largest prime number; there exists an infinite number of prime numbers, a fact we have known since Euclid proved it with a very elegant proof by contradiction back around 300 BC. So the hunt is on for ever larger prime numbers. There is a prize of $150,000 waiting for the first person to discover a prime number with more than 100 million digits......and a bigger prize of $250,000 waiting for the discoverer of the first billion-digit prime number. This and much more is discussed in this fascinating article, "The Call of the Primes", in the latest issue of

Inside the race to find the first billion-digit prime number

An interesting side-bar to the main article takes note that we have now calculated the value of the irrational constant pi out to 31.4 Trillion digits, a feat done by a Google developer from Japan, Emma Haruka Iwao.

And another interesting historical note: In 1588, the Italian mathematician Pietro Cataldi was able to prove that the number 524,287 is a prime number, and

Boy, we've come a long ways since then!

*New Scientist*:Inside the race to find the first billion-digit prime number

An interesting side-bar to the main article takes note that we have now calculated the value of the irrational constant pi out to 31.4 Trillion digits, a feat done by a Google developer from Japan, Emma Haruka Iwao.

And another interesting historical note: In 1588, the Italian mathematician Pietro Cataldi was able to prove that the number 524,287 is a prime number, and

*that would remain the largest known prime number for nearly two centuries!*Boy, we've come a long ways since then!

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