Did you know? Time since the end of the Cambrian geologic period (485 m y) is 250 thousand x Time since start of building of the Colosseum (1,944 y) Tweet this comparison
Free-form entry eg: '125000km', '1.5 million inches', '$67bn', '45000000 AUD', 100years', '123456789', '1 trillion', '1.5e6', '25 million kg'
Is That a Big Number is now a book, published by Oxford University Press. (Google ISBN 0198821220 to find many online booksellers). Although there is serious purpose behind the book - to explore how we think about numbers and how we can understand big numbers - it’s written in a light and engaging style.
Entertaining, full of practical examples, and memorable concepts, Is That A Big Number? renews our relationship with numeracy. If numbers are the musical notes with which the symphony of the universe is written, and you’re struggling to hear the tune, then this is the book to get you humming again.
This graphic, from OurWorldInData.org (always highly recommended) shows, for a series of census years from 1851 to (projected) 2031, how many people would survive to each age in England and Wales. Things to note: the terrible effect of child mortality until 1961, and the fact that if you survived childhood, you had a significant chance of living to 60, 70, 80, even in the 19th century.
In 1982 Douglas Hofstadter wrote about Number Numbness. We’re still befuddled in the face of millions and billions, let alone trillions or even bigger numbers.
That’s the reason for IsThatABigNumber.com: to help anyone develop their number sense by putting big numbers in context and providing meaningful comparisons.
We like the attitude at cockeyed.com.
Take a bunch of everyday stuff (not just clothes) and weigh them. Why? Just to see how much they weigh! (and along the way maybe help internalise a sense of relative weights).
If you appreciate this site, do us a favour and click on the ad above. We'll earn a penny or two and that will help us keep going.
You'll know that you have done a good thing for numeracy and rationality in the world!