Germantown man discovers largest prime number known to man - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Germantown man discovers largest prime number known to man

(Source: Flickr) (Source: Flickr)
GERMANTOWN, TN (WMC) -

A Germantown native and FedEx employee discovered the longest prime number known to man, according to GizModo.

The prime number discovered by 51-year-old Jonathan Pace is a whopping--prepare yourself--23,249,425 digits long.

A prime number, you'll no doubt recall, is a number that can only be divided by 1 and itself.

Pace, a man much smarter than any of us, discovered the number by using the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, GIMPS. His number has been dubbed "M77232917," following the shorthand naming system for Mersenne primes. 

Click here to see the actual, real, ridiculously long number (you've been warned).

According to GIMP, the number is large enough to fill an entire shelf of 9,000-page books.

For his efforts, Pace is entitled to a $3,000 research discovery award. He said he plans to donate the money to his family's congregation.

The groups that discovered two of the previously largest prime numbers took home an even larger prize.

The discovery of a 1,000,000 decimal digit prime number netted the discoverer $50,000, and the 10,000,000 decimal earned $100,000.

There are still prizes to be earned. The person or group to discover a 100,000,000 decimal digit prime number will bring home a $150,000 prize, and $250,000 awaits the discoverer of a 1,000,000,000 decimal digit prime. That's nearly 70,000,000 larger than Pace's number...better start studying.

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