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Tom's Take On Large-In-Life Numbers

Consider this list of numbers, in increasing order:

  • 100,000
  • 800,000
  • 2 billion = 2 x 109
  • 6 billion = 6 x 109
  • 14 billion = 1.4 x 1010
  • 6 trillion = 6 x 1012
  • 7 trillion = 7 x 1012
  • 400 nonillion = 4 x 1032
  • 1 x 1080
  • 1 x 10120
  • Match one of the above numbers as a "best" estimation of each of the following items:
    1. Number of people in the world
    2. Number of grains of sand that would fill a sphere the size of the earth
    3. Average number of hairs on one's head
    4. Age of the universe (in years)
    5. Number of possible chess moves in a chess game
    6. Number of times your heart beats in your life
    7. Number of words in the English language
    8. Number of atoms in the universe
    9. National debt (in dolars)
    10. One light-year (distance light travels in a year) in miles
    Good luck!

     

    Source: Tom Swanson's "Large Numbers," Oregon Mathematics Teacher, Dec. 2003, p. 37.


    Hint: Do some estimations....some calculations...some eliminating....some comparisons....some Internet searching.

     


    Solution Commentary: Sorry...that would ruin the experience.