googol it

The name “Google” is an accidental misspelling of the word googol which was invented by a 9 year old boy, Milton Sirotta (who does not have a wikipedia entry – so much for words, coining them,  and fame).

A googol is the large number 10100, that is, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros.

Columbia University Mathematics Professor,Edward Kasner is perhaps best remembered today for introducing the term “googol” in or about 1920[2]. In order to pique the interest of children, Kasner sought a name for a very large number: one followed by a hundred zeros.

On a walk in the New Jersey Palisades with his nephews, Milton and Edwin Sirotta, Kasner asked for their ideas. Nine-year-old Milton suggested “googol.”

Kasner popularized the concept in his book Mathematics and the Imagination (1940). A googol is of the same order of magnitude as the factorial of 70 (70! being approximately 1.198 googol, or 10 to the power 100.0784). In binary it would take up 333 bits. A googol has no particular significance in mathematics, but is useful when comparing with other very large quantities such as the number of subatomic particles in the visible universe or the number of possible chess games. Edward Kasner created it to illustrate the difference between an unimaginably large number and infinity, and in this role it is sometimes used in teaching mathematics.


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