Mark today in your diary because it’s turning out to be quite a day for revolutionary mathematical results. Hold on to your online credit card transactions, ladies and gentlemen, because Colin Beveridge, maths tutor and sometime Aperiodical contributor, has this morning published his discovery of the largest prime number.

A prime number is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. It was long thought that there were infinitely many primes, but of course those of us who *properly* understand infinity know that it goes on forever and there is surely no way to check every case. Beveridge’s result overturns this long held belief by showing that a largest single prime exists.

A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite number. One consequence of Beveridge’s result is that every number greater than $11!+1$ is a composite number, and can therefore be represented as the product of two or more (not necessarily distinct) primes.

Beveridge says he plans to submit the new result as part of a multi-million pounds research grant application to exhaustively search all the numbers up to $11!+1$, in order to compile a list of all possible prime numbers.

**Original paper**: BREAKING NEWS: Largest prime discovered.

I always knew there were holes in Euclid’s sieve!

Fortunately, prime numbers aren’t particularly important in mathematics.