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February 5 2013

Ginormous Numbers Could Create a Mental Black Hole


A trillion. A googol. A centillion. TREE(3). Somewhere between zero and infinity is a host of finite, but mind-bogglingly huge numbers.

But while mathematicians have dreamed up large numbers for ages and they pop up frequently in physics and math, gigantic numbers are bafflingly hard to fathom.

"Really big numbers are in every piece of technology we look at, in every organism we look at," said John Borwein, an applied mathematician at the University of Newcastle in Australia. And yet, "These are enormous numbers that no human being is intuitively equipped to understand." .

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