Shropshire, United Kingdom (16th December, 2013) – The biggest prime number ever discovered is over 17 million decimal digits long. It is equal to having 1,584,106 contacts in your phone’s address book. That’s a lot of digits, but with this amazing deep zoom graphic from Shoothill  you can see them all.

The Deep Zoom created using Shoothill’s Megafiche® technology, highlight’s the sheer scale of this prime number, which if it were to be printed out to scale, would take 6 acres of paper. Inside the Deep Zoom experience itself you can use the zoom controls, to see when each of the previous record-breaking prime numbers were discovered as well as relating the advances that have been made over the years.

Shoothill Managing Director, Rod Plummer: “It’s amazing to use the zoom to see numbers come into focus and realise the scale of the original number and the leaps and bounds that mathematicians have made. The challenge for us was how to represent a number this huge and make it meaningful for people, but we think we’ve cracked it and hopefully we will inspire a few more mathematicians to add to our collective knowledge and find some of those lost primes

The Prime Challenge

Shoothill made this deep zoom image to help The Prime Challenge highlight the huge gaps in the number space that are yet to be explored.

The focus of the Prime Challenge is to find the “lost primes”; those prime numbers that have remained undiscovered in the race to always find the biggest prime. It is hoped that The Prime Challenge will also help to re-awaken interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects – a skillset that is becoming scarcer.

Steve Plank, Cloud Computing and STEM Evangelist at Microsoft: “This image is an amazing representation of the sheer size of the largest ever discovered prime number. But it also shows a lot of gaps in the number space. We don’t know if there are more primes in there, although we suspect so. We’re challenging people to find them.”

The Prime Challenge is open to all and everyone is encouraged to try and find a “lost prime.” To enter the challenge, visit and follow the instructions online.

Prime Number M1279, Digits: 385 – Year Discovered: 1952

The Prime Challenge - Megafiche® Deep Zoom Image
The Prime Challenge – Megafiche® Deep Zoom Image

Prime Number M13466917, Digits: 4,053,945 – Year Discovered: 2001

The Prime Challenge - Megafiche® Deep Zoom Image
The Prime Challenge – Megafiche® Deep Zoom Image

For more information on Shoothill, contact Victoria Hammond on 0845 421 0391 or email

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