


Tom's Take On LargeInLife Numbers
Consider this list of numbers, in increasing order:
100,000
800,000
2 billion = 2 x 10^{9}
6 billion = 6 x 10^{9}
14 billion = 1.4 x 10^{10}
6 trillion = 6 x 10^{12}
7 trillion = 7 x 10^{12}
400 nonillion = 4 x 10^{32}
1 x 10^{80}
1 x 10^{120}
Match one of the above numbers as a "best" estimation of each of the following items:
 Number of people in the world
 Number of grains of sand that would fill a sphere the size of the earth
 Average number of hairs on one's head
 Age of the universe (in years)
 Number of possible chess moves in a chess game
 Number of times your heart beats in your life
 Number of words in the English language
 Number of atoms in the universe
 National debt (in dolars)
 One lightyear (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.

