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.
Hyperion, the world’s tallest tree, is a coast redwood in Northern California. It is hundreds of years old, stands 116m tall, and is estimated to contain 530 m^3 of wood. And did you know that fully half of the height of the Statue of Liberty is accounted for by the plinth she stands on?
IsThatABigNumber.com is about extending our number sense. We make comparisons that are (mostly) down-to-earth: populations of people and animals, national budgets, river lengths and so on.
But when we leave behind everyday experience and look at the kind of numbers you find in astronomy and in combinatorics, we come across vastly bigger numbers.
One strategy to grasp these numbers is to break them down into a series of levels, to see them as stupidly big aggregations of things that are themselves stupidly big aggregations of … Here are some good clips illustrating this:
Want more? The IsThatABigNumber book is a celebration of numbers and numeracy. Oxford University Press: July 2018.