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A Trillion Squares

Date: 9/9/96 at 18:55:10
From: Anonymous
Subject: A trillion squares of graph paper

Each piece of graph paper is 1 foot long and has 42 squares to a sheet 
How far will the graph paper stretch, if it is laid in a line, to make 
it 1 trillion squares?

Date: 9/10/96 at 14:39:59
From: Doctor Ana
Subject: Re: A trillion squares of graph paper

This is a pretty straightforward problem if you don't let the big 
numbers bother you. First of all, 1 trillion = 1,000,000,000,000  or 
1 * 10^12 in scientific notation.

We need to know how many sheets of paper we will be using, and then, 
because each sheet is 1 foot long, we will know how many feet long 
the sheets will be. If there are 42 squares per sheet, and we need 
1 trillion squares in total, we can just divide 1 trillion by 42 to 
find out how many sheets we will need. 

Go ahead and try it on a calculator (you will need to use scientific 
notation on most calculators). The answer will be pretty big. To put 
it in perspective, the distance from the earth to the sun is about  
500 billion feet = 500,000,000,000 feet.

[Dr. Chuck's Note: The distance is 10^12/42 ft * 1/5280 mile/ft = 
4,509,379.5 miles. That is a goodly distance!!]

-Doctor Ana,  The Math Forum
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Associated Topics:
Elementary Large Numbers

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