Mersenne 48

I’ve just listened to the More or Less review of numbers of the year. One is a 17-million digit prime number which was discovered in January 2013. It’s a Mersenne prime and is of the form 1 less than a power of 2. It is notable that the powers of 2 which result in a prime are few and far between.

The first Mersenne prime is (2 to the 2) minus 1 – giving 3.

The number in question is the 48th Mersenne prime.

It’s (2 to the 57,885,161) minus 1 – giving a rather larger number.

Helen Arney has a song about it

In January Professor Curtis Cooper found a number
Not an ordinary number, but a number that’s humungous…
…so I don’t want your mulled pies and you can keep your minced wine
All I want for Christmas is the world’s biggest prime!

It’s 2 to the power of 57885161 (minus one)
Mersenne 48 – the perfect gift for everyone
So give me oh give me this Christmas time
A seventeen million digit Christmas prime

It’s rarer than a cracker joke that actually makes you laugh
As useful as a pair of roller skates for a giraffe
If I had one I could do whatever I like with it
Well, anything I want apart from dividing it… except by itself and one…

2 to the power of 57885161 (minus one)
And if I tried to sing it in hours I’d need one thousand one hundred and eighty-one
So give me oh give me this Christmas time
A seventeen million digit Christmas prime

You can type it and text it or write it and post it,
Bake it in bread and then slice it and toast it
If you can’t calculate it and send it in time
I’ll accept 16 million decimal places of Pi

So give me oh give me this Christmas time
A seventeen million digit Christmas prime
(One more recursion!)
Give me give oh give me this Christmas time
A seventeen million digit Christmas prime

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