marin mersenne

Marin Mersenne, born on 8th September 1588, was a French theologian, philosopher, mathematician and music theorist. I believe most of you know about Mersenne primes and I have talked about them before.

However, Mersenne was not primarily a mathematician; he wrote about music theory and other subjects. He edited works of Euclid, Apollonius, Archimedes, and other Greek mathematicians. But perhaps his most important contribution to the advance of learning was his extensive correspondence (in Latin) with mathematicians and other scientists in many countries. At a time when the scientific journal had not yet come into being, Mersenne was the centre of a network for exchange of information. It has been argued that Mersenne used his lack of mathematical specialty, his ties to the print world, his legal acumen, and his friendship with the French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes (1596–1650) to manifest his international network of mathematicians.

In later life, he gave up speculative thought and turned to scientific research, especially in mathematics, physics and astronomy. In this connection, his best known work is Traité de l'harmonie universelle (also referred to as Harmonie universelle) of 1636, dealing with the theory of music and musical instruments.

So who said music and math don’t work together? ^_^ Everything works with math :P 

In mathematics, a Mersenne prime is a prime number of the form M_n=2^n-1. This is to say that it is a prime number which is one less than a power of two. They are named after Marin Mersenne, a French Minim friar, who studied them in the early 17th century. Many fundamental questions about Mersenne primes remain unresolved. It is not even known whether the set of Mersenne primes is finite or infinite.

Édouard Lucas proved in 1876 that M_127 is prime. This was the largest known prime number for 75 years, and the largest ever calculated by hand. It has 39 digits.

As of October 2014, 48 Mersenne primes are known.