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A Gazillion

Date: 06/25/97 at 09:02:59
From: Anonymous
Subject: A Gazillion

What power of 10 is a gazillion?

Thank you,

Date: 06/27/97 at 21:36:06
From: Doctor Mark
Subject: Re: A Gazillion

Well, Bunko, a gazillion is only slightly less than a Mothra-illion.  
More seriously, a gazillion is not any power of ten, since it's not a 
number.  A "gazillion" (sometimes spelled "bazillion") is just a way 
of saying "a really big number," or "a whole lot of..."  It's related 
to the word "zillion," which is also not a number, as in "Bill Gates 
is a zillionaire, which just means that he has a whole boatload of 
money (which he does).  

But there are really big numbers that have names, like "centillion," 
which is a 1 followed by 103 zeros, i.e., 10 to the 103rd power.  Or 
the slightly smaller "googol," which is a 1 followed by 100 zeros.  To 
give you an idea how big that is, it is estimated that there are only 
10 to the 80th power of atoms in the whole universe. But the biggest 
number that has a normal name is the "googolplex," which is a 1 
followed by a googol of zeros. If you lined up all the atoms in the 
universe, put a "1" on the first one, and "0" on the rest, you would 
still not have written down the number "one googolplex"! 

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

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