Googol and Googolplex

25 08 2003

While reading up for my upcoming class, the third installment of the OSS Elective, I came upon a word, which, not too many of us may have heard before, or will ever hear.

The word googol is a number which has 100 zeroes in it, and the googolplex is a number with a googol of zeroes… funny, ain’t it…. 🙂

And while we’re on the subject, from http://straightdope.com/mailbag/mgazilli.html, we are given the following:

# Billion has 9 zeros
# Trillion has 12 zeros
# Quadrillion has 15 zeros
# Quintillion has 18 zeros
# Sextillion has 21 zeros
# Septillion has 24 zeros
# Octillion has 27 zeros
# Nonillion has 30 zeros
# Decillion has 33 zeros
# Undecillion has 36 zeros
# Duodecillion has 39 zeros
# Tredecillion has 42 zeros
# Quattuordecillion has 45 zeros
# Quindecillion has 48 zeros
# Sexdecillion has 51 zeros
# Septendecillion has 54 zeros
# Octodecillion has 57 zeros
# Novemdecillion has 60 zeros
# Vigintillion has 63 zeros
# Googol has 100 zeros.
# Centillion has 303 zeros (except in Britain, where it has 600 zeros)
# Googolplex has a googol of zeros

And one last thing, if you are talking to an American and you describe a billion, he will understand you. But if you are talking to a Brit (from Britain, dummy) or a Kraut (sorry, guys, can’t help myself – a German), a billion is equal to 1,000,000,000,000 [or 1 Trillion to us]. Here’s what Doctor Math has to say: “In the English speaking world, at least, there’s already disagreement about what the word “billion” means. In the United States, it means 109; in Great Britain, it means 1012. The Brits add 6 zeroes per step up, and we add 3. So a British “trillion” is 1018. In a sense, the British system makes more sense–billion, trillion, quadrillion, etc., indicate 2, 3, and 4 from the roots of the names. If you think of them as meaning 2, 3, and 4 groups of 6 zeroes, everything makes good sense–and it makes no sense in the U.S. system.”

Ciao, baby… 😎

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