Names of Large Numbers
Date: 9/14/96 at 17:59:44 From: Anonymous Subject: Name of Large Numbers My Gifted elementary school students are trying to find very large numbers. The highest that they have found so far is a "vigintillion" (1 + 63 zeroes). They couldn't find other numbers between a vigintillion and a centillion. Can you help?
Date: 9/16/96 at 14:24:25 From: Doctor Tom Subject: Re: Name of Large Numbers You mean names for numbers, right? I've never heard of any others myself. Names for such large numbers are basically useless, so it's not surprising that there are only a limited number of them. The vast majority of people don't even know what a vigintillion is, so it's sort of useless to use the word. It's much easier to use scientific notation, because then the size of the number is obvious: 1*10^63. Besides, in the English speaking world, at least, there's already disagreement about what the word "billion" means. In the United States, it means 10^9; in Great Britain, it means 10^12. The Brits add 6 zeroes per step up, and we add 3. So a British "trillion" is 10^18. In a sense, the British system makes more sense -- "bi"llion, "tri"llion, "quad"rillion, et cetera indicates 2, 3, and 4 from the roots of the names. If you think of them as meaning 2, 3, and 4 groups of 6 zeroes, everything makes good sense -- and it makes no sense in the US system. -Doctor Tom, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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