Previous Fun with finite fields Next Simul kids et adults

How big is 10 to the 20th?

May 27, 2008, 3:04 pm

Here’s a great illustration from George Gamow’s classic book One Two Three… Infinity which shows two things: just how big $$10^{20}$$ really is, when thought of as a scaling factor; and also the power of a good illustration to drive home a point about math or science. The picture shows a normal-sized astronomer observing the Milky Way galaxy when shrunk down by a factor of $$10^{20}$$.

That’s a big number, folks.

Gamow’s book is one of several on my summer reading list, and there’s a reason it’s a classic. In particular, it’s chock full of cool illustrations like this that convey more information about a science concept than an hour’s worth of lecturing.

This entry was posted in Geekhood, Math, Science and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

• The Chronicle of Higher Education
• 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
• Washington, D.C. 20037