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Googol

A googol is the number 10100, that is, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeroes. The term was coined in 1938 by nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner. Kasner announced the concept in his book Mathematics and the Imagination.

Googol is "approximately" equal to the factorial of 70, and its prime factors[?] are only 2 and 5. In binary it would take up 333 bits.

The googol has no scientific use, and is most often invoked in mathematics teaching. Kasner created it to illustrate the difference between an unimaginably large number and infinity. Although a googol is huge, greater than the number of atoms in the universe, it is quite easy to write down in conventional notation, as follows:

1 googol = 10100 =
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.

A googolplex is ten raised to the power of a googol, or <math>10^{10^{100}}</math>.

The Internet search engine, Google, was named as a play on the number googol.

'Googol' was the answer to the million-pound sterling question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire when Major Charles Ingram[?] attempted to defraud the quiz show on 10 September 2001.

See also: googolgon, googolhedron, duotrigintillion

References

  • Kasner, Edward & Newman, James Roy Mathematics and the Imagination (New York, NY, USA: Simon and Schuster, 1967; Dover Pubns, April 2001; London: Penguin, 1940, ISBN 0486417034).



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