Free-form entry eg: '125000km', '1.5 million inches', '$67bn', '45000000 AUD', 100years', '123456789', '1 trillion', '1.5e6', '25 million kg'
This is what 1 in a thousand looks like in Lego terms… Is “a thousand” a big number?
We say yes: and more than that, we reckon that “in the region of a thousand” is more or less where the big numbers start, that is, numbers that we have trouble visualising. Somewhere around 1000, we need to shift gears mentally and use new strategies for these bigger numbers.
Interestingly, there is linguistic and cultural support for this idea, too.
Blog article coming soon
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 article about log scales and how to think about them (and how they naturally reflect how we think about big numbers) pretty much nails it, for me. Using log scales is an essential tool in your mental numeracy toolbox.
Thank you, Chalkface blog.
Thank you, too, Vi Hart for your passionate and engaging video on the topic.
Yes, there's now a book based on these numbers. Oxford University Press: July 2018.