The Largest Number In The World: Can You Count This High?

Last Updated on: February 2nd, 2017

Ever see the commercial that asks children “What’s the largest number in the world?” The first response is “infinity“, the second is “infinity plus one” and the last response is “infinity times infinity”. As a math teacher, this makes me laugh. Wait until these kids get to high school. Their response will probably be “infinity to the power of infinity”!

can you count this high

Numbers have always fascinated me. I think the reason for this is because I learned numbers when counting money. My dad used to pull coins out of his pockets and teach me how to count when I was very young. Size does not always indicate value, or worth, either, since a nickel is physically larger than a dime but is worth only half of what a dime is worth. Maybe that’s where the saying “good things come in small packages” come from…
Counting is fun for many children, and for some adults, too. Recently I came across an article about computers, and memory/storage sizes. Being a non-technological person, I was astounded at some of the large sizes, numbers, and words that exist and have wended their way into our lexicon.

The article is called “How Big Is A Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte, Or A Yottabyte?” and is a fascinating read, even for non-techies like me!

However, this is slightly different than numbers used in counting. For fun, I decided to look up the largest number known to mankind, and found that “infinity” still remains at the top of the list!

Since we’re talking numbers here, I guess I should mention that a pretty big prime number has been found, and consists of over 17 million digits in length. If you don’t believe me, then read “What has 17,425,170 digits, has sparked a positive flurry of excitement and has little practical value?

If this is what techies do for fun, then I am proud to be a non-techie! 🙂

YOUR TURN: Do you like numbers? Money? Counting? Let me know in the comment section, please!

 

12 thoughts on “The Largest Number In The World: Can You Count This High?

  1. Glynis Jolly says

    Here’s a little bit of trivia that goes with your topic. The math used for computers, including apps, is different groupings of the numbers 1 and 0. This is even true with images. For instance the color red on your blog could be (this is just a for-instance) 01101001 as far as the computer is concerned. I learned this in my first year in college way back in the day.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Aah, binary code! I have heard of it, too! Long strings of “numbers” made up from 0’s and 1’s. Um-hm. 🙂

  2. I love the commercial with the kids talking about infinity. I’m not a numbers person though and I can barely balance my checkbook. I prefer words over numbers. Computers and all the little gadgets that go with them and how much stuff they can hold fascinate me and I feel so lucky to live in this day and age. This will age me but I remember when one computer would take up an entire room and hold very little data. No one had one of those, you had to be in government or some huge corporation to own one. The Internet didn’t exist at all and no one had more than three or four TV channels. All those things that we take for granted today, were works of science fiction. I really enjoyed reading your post.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Thanks!

      I can remember the black disks that were a bit bigger than a CD…and also the 3.5″ floppies…before I even owned a computer.

      So glad my laptop is awesome, and weighs about 50 pounds lighter than my old tower-computer!

      Balancing a checkbook is easy as long as you remember to record each purchase! 🙂

  3. I have never been a big fan of math, in fact we’ve barely been on speaking terms. At this point in my life, math means budgets and then there’s never enough numbers. 🙂

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      I know what you mean! I think that’s the case with many people; their “income” is outweighed by their “expenses”.

      *sigh* I know the feeling!

  4. I like numbers too, Lorraine.

    What’s truly remarkable is numbers are not the only things that are infinite. Space, matter, and time are infinite, as is God. None can be proved to be, but neither can numbers be proved to be infinite because no one can reach the end, and of course, if you can’t reach it, there might, or might not, be an end. Only our understanding is finite.

    Even the words we write here have the potential of lasting forever.

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      Truer words have never been spoken, Elaine. Well, maybe they have…but for now I am choosing to ignore them! You make some very good points!

  5. Peter says

    Noooo! Not Math!! I am of the mind that if the good lord wanted us to do math, we would not have calculators :oP MY kids could run rings around me at an early age and I still take at least one shopping with me to ensure I don’t get sucked in by the ‘specials’ that are often anything but. I will show this one to them, at least they will get a kick from it LOL P~

    • Lorraine Marie Reguly says

      I like calculators, too. They are useful tools. However, I also think that we should be able to understand how to do simple math without them!

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