Is there a size bigger than Googol
What is the greatest number of math?
What is the largest mathematically possible number? This task is not a trick question, but a challenge that science tries to meet with enthusiasm regularly. From quintillions to seventh quadragintillions to Googleplexian, mathematicians have been searching for the end of the string of numbers since ancient times.
Archimedes calculated the number of grains of sand that could fill the universe and thus created the number of sand. However, this mega number, which the Greeks viewed as near infinity, is no longer so huge today. Because mathematicians have not given up looking for ever larger numbers since ancient times.
The determination of the largest number in the world, however, follows a few criteria: The number must be so large that it is not possible to add anything to it, not even a succinct +1. It has to make some kind of mathematical sense, even if the benefits may be very small. It must be explainable, meaning that every newly introduced spelling and every previously unknown parameter must be logically derived. And it must not be arbitrary or infinite, because, understandably, infinity is not a number.
Conveniently, a clever YouTuber has already taken on the question of the largest of all numbers. Sharkee, who comes from Bahrain and repeatedly comes up with astonishing factual knowledge about science, astronomy and philosophy on his YouTube channel, explains the mathematical borderline phenomenon with euphoric didactics:
In order to determine the largest number, we first need a reference value, of equally overwhelming gigantomania. But this is not even that easy to find. Even the unimaginable size of a googol — that's 10 to the power of 100 or a 1 with a hundred zeros — is not enough. For comparison: A googol is larger than the number of total atoms in our universe, which is only the amount of 10 to the power of 80.
But even if it is hard to imagine, a googol can still be topped by a googolplex, which is the sum of 10 to the power of googol. That's a 1 with 10 to the power of 100 zeros. We are slowly but surely walking into mathematical areas in which the sequences of digits are so large that they can no longer be noted down.
Mathematicians are trying to solve the biggest puzzle in their field
On the way to sheer unimaginability in the universe of numbers, Sharkee passes Graham's number, which is constructed with the help of an n-dimensional hypercube and in the Guiness Book of Records hailed as the greatest number ever used in a mathematical proof. However, this record has already been refuted. It was relatively easy to prove to the contrary, since that Guiness book left out an important word. According to Graham, what made the number stand out was that it was the largest that appears in any serious mathematical proof. Since in Guiness book However, if it does not say "seriously", the claim could easily be refuted on the grounds that twice the number is even greater.
But apart from that, since the discovery of Graham's number in 1971, some larger sequences of digits have been calculated. Sharkee ends up at further dizzying heights with Kruskal's tree theorem and the number (Tree) 3, which can hardly be explained and yet remains behind other sequences of digits as tiny.
As a rule, the discovery of such gigantic numbers goes hand in hand with a certain mathematical problem, which is elaborately described with nodes in Euclidean space (Graham's number), the calculation of minimal spanning trees of undirected graphs (Kruskal) or the Skewes number, which describes the prime number densities.
The finale in the video of mathematical magic takes its course in a spectacular number duel, which even surpasses the arithmetic skills of any computer and casts a spell on every math fan (new and old). It shows how the boundaries between science and philosophy mix.
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