Ivan Mikheevich Pervushin
(Иван Михеевич Первушин) (January 21, 1827 – June 29,
1900) was an important Russian mathematician of the 2nd half of 19th
century.
Pervushin
was born in the town of Lysva of the
Perm gubernia to a family of a
clergyman. He graduated from Kazan
clerical academy in 1852.
Upon graduation, Pervushin was required to
become a priest; he stayed for some time in Perm, then moved to a
remote village of Zamaraevo, some 150 miles from Ekaterinburg, where he lived for 25 years.
The Priest's job provided for Pervushin's life and left him plenty
of free time to spend on
mathematics.
Pervushin was particularly interested in
number theory.
In 1877 and in the beginning of 1878 he
presented two papers to the Russian Academy of Sciences. In these papers, he proved that the 12th
and 23rd
Fermat numbers are
composite:
2^{2^{12}} + 1 is divisible by 7*2^{14}+1=114689
and
2^{2^{23}} + 1 is divisible by 5*2^{25}+1=167772161
In 1883 Pervushin demonstrated that the number:
2^{61}-1 = 2305843009213693951
is a
Mersenne prime. This number
became known as "Pervushin's number", and remained the second
largest known prime (after 2^{127}-1, proved prime by
Lucas 7 years earlier) until 1911, when
Powers proved that 2^{89}-1 is
prime.
From
Zamaraevo, Pervushin moved to the nearby town of Shadrinsk in 1883. Here Pervushin published an article
that ridiculed the local government. As a punishment, he was exiled
to the village of
Mehonskoe in 1887.
A contemporary of Pervushin's, writer A.D.Nosilov, who frequently
visited Pervushin in Mehonskoe, wrote a paper
"Priest-mathematician", which was published in the "New time"
magazine on July 6, 1896.
He wrote: "... this is the modest unknown worker of science ... All
of his spacious study is filled up with the different mathematical
books, ... here are the books of famous mathematicians:
Chebyshev,
Legendre,
Riemann; not including all modern
mathematical publications, which were sent to him by Russian and
foreign scientific and mathematical societies. It seemed I was not
in a study of the village priest, but in a study of an old
mathematics professor ... Besides being a mathematician, he is also
a statistician, a meteorologist, and a correspondent".
Pervushin died in Mehonskoe at the age of 73.