How do you imagine a googol


Googol: A very special number and what you need to know about it

No, Googol is not misspelled and does not describe a search engine. There is something exciting behind the word.

Find out what the term stands for and learn everything there is to know about the phenomenon.

Googol: what is it?

Googol is the name for the number 10 to the power of 100, i.e. a 1 with 100 zeros. The number is so indescribably large that it exceeds the atoms in the visible universe. It is estimated that there are “only” 10 to the power of 80. You cannot imagine that figuratively, but Googol is therefore many times larger than our cosmos. The word comes from English, the German equivalent is ten sex decillions. The name of the gigantic number, which was launched and disseminated by the American mathematician Edward Kasner, has existed since 1938. The number is rarely used in mathematics, but it is useful when it comes to representing large quantities. An example of this would be subatomic particles.

How did the number Googol get its name?

The origin of the word googol is amusing. When Edward Kasner was looking for a name for the huge number 10 to the power of 100, he turned to his then 9-year-old nephew Milton Sirotta in 1938. When asked what he would call an incredibly large number, he replied "Googol". So a child created the now world-famous term that his uncle established. If you want to read more about it, get Kasner's book "Mathematics and the Imagination", which the American mathematician wrote together with James Roy Newman. He was both a lawyer interested in mathematics and Kasner's pupil. In this book he describes how he gave his name to the number with the help of his little nephew.

As the reviews on the Internet show, the book is an exciting work of literature in which you learn a lot of impressive knowledge about the work and insights of the mathematician. On 400 pages you will find out everything about the origin of the important word that has shaped the world of mathematics and the internet to this day. There are other books on the subject that have good reviews and underline their entertainment value and usefulness. If you don't want to read entire books on the topic right away, you will find numerous articles on Googol on the net.

What does googolplex mean?

As big as Googol may be - it can be bigger. To top off his work, Edward Kasner created the word Googolplex, which describes an even more gigantic number: 10 to the power of Googol. Googolplex is therefore a 1 with 10 to the power of 100 zeros. A googolplex is one of those numbers that are so incredibly large that we can barely grasp them with our human mind. Compared to Googolplex, Googol is almost ridiculously small, which is impressive and overwhelming when you remember that already one Googol is larger than the number of all atoms in the visible universe. Kasner defined further numbers in his work:

  • Googolplexplex: 10 high Googolplex
  • Googolplexplexplex: 10 high Googolplexplex
  • etc.

The exciting thing about Googolplex is that the number is so large that it cannot be displayed. If you were to write them in a book of 400 pages and fill each page with 50 lines with 50 zeros each, you would need 10 to the 94 books. Just writing this number down would take you more time than the universe is old. As you can see, Googolplex is huge. It literally finds little place in everyday life, in science and also in mathematics, which is why it is rarely used. The good side is that, thanks to the number, astronomers, for example, can present their theories and findings more easily in their work, books and articles. Googolplex reads easier than 10 to the power of 10 to the power of 100.

What's the largest number in the world?

Some people answer this question with "infinite", but that is wrong. Infinity is not a number. Numbers have to go on and on, even if it's only a 1 that can be added. Thus, infinity falls out as the mother of numbers. Perhaps you now think that Googolplex or Googolplexplex is the largest number. But the name of this mysterious number is Graham Number. It was named after the inventor and mathematician Robert Graham. The Graham number cannot be represented graphically, let alone pictorially imagined. Graham's number is, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest number ever used in a mathematical proof.

However, science is arguing here, too, because some mathematicians presented even larger numbers in their proofs, for example in connection with Krukskala's tree theorem. As you can see, the question of the largest number in the world has not yet been 100 percent clarified, or people are not yet in agreement. Countless mathematicians and scientists are preoccupied with the search for this largest possible number and it will probably remain an exciting race. By and large, however, you can assume that the Graham number in general education is considered to be the largest number in the world. It was not for nothing that it found its place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Googol and Google - coincidence?

It is no coincidence that the name of the search engine Google spells and speaks so similarly to Googol. Google deliberately named itself after the huge number to allude to how gigantic the number of results, such as pages, articles, images and videos, you can find with the search engine. The clever name is a successful homage to Kasner's work. Appropriately, the company's headquarters are called Googleplex. The domain for the own server is called, to allude to Googol one more time. Google thus made a clever move that creatively indexes the size of the company.

Interesting uses of googol

In the literature and media landscape you will find Googol, Googolplex and allusions to the words. For example in the book "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. In this a supercomputer is called Gugelplex Sterndenker. A German pop band is called “One In A Googolplex” and a former Japanese hardcore punk band is called “Googol Plex”.

Authors also used the word to represent the chances of love. In the film "Back to the Future III", Dr. Emmett L. Brown, odds of meeting his wife would be 1 at Googolplex. In one of the Peanuts comics, Schroeder tells Lucy that their chances of getting married are 1 at Googolplex. The Simpsons have a cinema named after Googolplex, and Phineas and Ferb have a shopping center. Even if the number has no great practical use in our everyday lives, it found its way to fame thanks to film, literature and television. Anyone who knows the number or is enthusiastic about mathematics can look forward to one or the other allusion. Googol and Googolplex have a fascinating effect on us due to their incredible and unassailable size, as you can see from these examples.