What a bigger googolplex or infinity glove

Google vs Googol

First of all, the Googol was there first. Edward Kasner created this new term for a 1 with 100 zeros as early as 1938. Before that, it was common - if a mathematician was concerned with such magnitudes at all - to speak of ten sex decillions in German-speaking countries. According to Kasner, he asked his nephew Milton Sirottawhether he could come up with a new term for this unbelievable number and published the concept of Googol for the first time in the book "Mathematics and the Imagination", which he together with James Newman brought out.

The Googol and the Googolplex that was added later, a 10 to the power of Googol, are more popular scientific terms, as there is a separate nomenclature for numbers in both English and German-speaking countries, both of which are based on Latin. The actual English term for a Googol is “Ten Duotrigintillion”, which for most of us has no relevance in either English or German. To make the whole thing a little more manageable, a googol should be larger than the number of atoms in the universe as a whole, and it will probably be a long time before our debt clock climbs these heights. Thanks to our debt clock, we are at least able to juggle with at least trillions, whereby in Germany a trillion is a 1 with 12 zeros. After the trillion comes the billiards and the trillion, a number with 18 zeros. 6 more zeros each then have Quadrillion, Quintillion, Sextillion, Septillion, Octillion, Nonillion, etc. and immediately - there is no highest number. Those of us who still had mathematics at high school and were allowed to count on faculties can still be satisfied with the fact that a Googol is still less than 70! is.

But even with the billions, many of us get into trouble, thanks to the different nomenclatures, especially when they use English-language newspapers as journalists or when readers read newspaper articles that have been poorly translated into German. The most recent example is the US stimulus package from Joe Biden serve. The terminology of the millions is still the same, but the billion is already one trillion in the USA, which is why there are so many billionaires there and we currently have to be content with "only" billionaires. If you want to know more precisely why a US trillion is not a German trillion, I recommend this ntv article (May 10, 2016).

The fact that we are allowed to juggle with such numbers at all is thanks to the decimal system, which emerged in India around the 8th century and introduced the number zero. In 1202 the mathematician published Leonardo of Pisa, today rather than Fibonacci known, a book that begins with the sentence: "The nine Indian figures are 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. With these nine figures and the character 0, which the Arabs call Zephirum, any number can be written."

But back to Googol, which by now has probably the highest level of awareness of larger numbers, and which hardly anyone can really imagine. Daniel de Bruin has addressed this problem and created a machine that is intended to better illustrate this number. This machine is pretty to look at and is a particular delight for de Bruins electricity supplier.

Probably because of the high level of awareness of Googol, the search engine founders decided Larry Page andSergey Brin, 1997 for the name Google, which is also intended to clarify its goal of indexing as many Internet pages as possible. Although today the Google index is still in the billions and is therefore still a bit removed from Googol. Accordingly, the name of their company headquarters is "Googleplex", based on the number Googolplex, but we already know that there are not enough atoms in the universe to be able to derive any claim here.

For our normal everyday life it might even have been better if we had stayed with the Roman numerals, because then, simply because of the lack of expression and arithmetic capabilities, there would be neither billions of dollars nor billions of billions of debts - and the demands on one's own performance would also be something more manageable.

But at least you can - thanks to the decimal system - build your own Googol machine with your children or grandchildren, during COVID-19 maybe all by yourself, with your old Lego bricks and parts.

Published on By Heinrich Kümmerle
Categorized in TechnologyTagged with Lebenshilfe