What is a googol?
Date: 11/20/96 at 09:47:15 From: Anonymous Subject: Googol Dear Dr. Math, We are trying to find out what the word googol means. Thank you.
Date: 12/11/96 at 21:55:06 From: Doctor Daniel Subject: Re: Googol Hi there, A googol is the number you get when you take a one and follow it by 100 zeros: 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. EEK! How big is that? VERY big. Too big to imagine; it turns out that there are many fewer than a googol atoms in the universe, by a lot, in fact. So, if you tried to write a googol lines on a piece of paper, for example, you couldn't do it, because you'd run out of atoms to use as paper and pencil. (And it would take much longer than a lifetime to write all of it down.) No one ever really cares about what to call numbers that big, actually. But they do matter; computers are all the time multiplying numbers that are actually MUCH bigger than googols. So the numbers matter, at that point, but the names don't really. If you want to learn more about large numbers, look in our archives at: http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.large.numbers.html and http://mathforum.org/dr.math/tocs/large.elem.html Hope that answers your question! Have fun! -Doctor Daniel, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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