Mersenne prime

After 2000 years of searching we only know of 51 perfect numbers and they're all even. What else do and don't we know about these rare and precious jewels of maths?

A new prime number with nearly 25 million digits was discovered just in time for Christmas.

Prime number enthusiasts discover new largest prime with 22,338,618 digits.

Look for hidden gems in the gaps between known prime numbers.

Number theory is famous for problems that everyone can understand and that are easy to express, but that are fiendishly difficult to prove. Here are some of our favourites.

They've done it again! GIMPS has discovered the largest known prime number: 257,885,161-1. This massive 17,425,170 digit number was discovered thanks to clever distributed computing software that uses idle computer time donated by volunteers.

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search strikes again
The GIMPS project finds a new Mersenne prime
7.8 million digits down, only 2.2 million more needed!

In issue No 1 we introduced GIMPS, the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. Well, on Sunday 24th August 1997 they did it again.

  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.