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# The largest number ever to exsist?

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### #1 tali

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 07:49 PM

Taken from a website- what puzzles me is that the number is bigger than all the atoms in the universe, i assumed as a layperson, nothing could be a larger number.How the hell did he arrive/ calculate such a large number-the largest ever to exsist?
Roger Penrose, a famous British mathematician and a close friend of Stephen Hawking, wondered about this question and tried to calculate the probability. Including what he considered to be all variables required for human beings to exist and live on a planet such as ours, he computed the probability of this environment occurring among all the possible results of the Big Bang.

According to Penrose, the odds against such an occurrence were on the order of 1010123 to 1.

It is hard even to imagine what this number means. In math, the value 10123 means 1 followed by 123 zeros. (This is, by the way, more than the total number of atoms 1078 believed to exist in the whole universe.) But Penrose's answer is vastly more than this: It requires 1 followed by 10123 zeros.

Roger Penrose: "This number tells us how precise the Creator's aim must have been."

Or consider: 103 means 1,000, a thousand. 10103 is a number that that has 1 followed by 1000 zeros. If there are six zeros, it's called a million; if nine, a billion; if twelve, a trillion and so on. There is not even a name for a number that has 1 followed by 10123 zeros.

In practical terms, in mathematics, a probability of 1 in 1050 means "zero probability". Penrose's number is more than trillion trillion trillion times less than that. In short, Penrose's number tells us that the 'accidental" or "coincidental" creation of our universe is an impossibility.

Concerning this mind-boggling number Roger Penrose comments:

This now tells how precise the Creator's aim must have been, namely to an accuracy of one part in 1010123. This is an extraordinary figure. One could not possibly even write the number down in full in the ordinary denary notation: it would be 1 followed by 10123 successive 0's. Even if we were to write a 0 on each separate proton and on each separate neutron in the entire universe- and we could throw in all the other particles for good measure- we should fall far short of writing down the figure needed. 26

The numbers defining the design and plan of the universe's equilibrium play a crucial role and exceed comprehension. They prove that the universe is by no means the product of a coincidence, and show us "how precise the Creator's aim must have been" as Penrose stated

### #2 MID

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 09:42 PM

tali on Apr 15 2008, 03:49 PM, said:

Taken from a website- what puzzles me is that the number is bigger than all the atoms in the universe, i assumed as a layperson, nothing could be a larger number.How the hell did he arrive/ calculate such a large number-the largest ever to exsist?

Cannot say how he arrived at the number.  1E10123,  (not 1010123...the notation is confusing, what you wrote says 1 million, 10 thousand, 1 hundred twenty-three, a number which is way smaller than 1E10123).

It's certainly a humongous, ridiculously immense number.   But it's nothing compared to 1E1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 for instance, which is infinitely larger.

There is no such number as the largest number to exist.   All numbers exist, as large as you want to make them.   They don't actually mean anything, since they're so large that they're utterly unfathomable, but no matter how large a number you can imagine...there's always a larger one.

Further, no matter how large you go...it's never any closer to infinity than "1".

Mind boggling, eh?

### #3 Tiggs

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 10:50 PM

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### #4 NoahJaymes

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 11:09 PM

MID on Apr 15 2008, 05:42 PM, said:

Mind boggling, eh?

### #5 MID

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 09:18 PM

CryWolf on Apr 15 2008, 07:09 PM, said:

It happens when we contemplate such things...

Most people don't think of numbers as being anything other than finite, but the fact is there is no largest, or smallest number.   Numbers can be ever larger, and ever smaller...never reaching "0", and never reaching infinity...or even getting close.

Asprin, or a stiff drink,  often helps in the contemplation process concerning such things!

### #6 Harte

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 09:43 PM

MID on Apr 16 2008, 04:18 PM, said:

It happens when we contemplate such things...

Most people don't think of numbers as being anything other than finite, but the fact is there is no largest, or smallest number.   Numbers can be ever larger, and ever smaller...never reaching "0", and never reaching infinity...or even getting close.

Actually, numbers "reach" zero in precisely the same sense that they reach any other number.

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 01:23 AM

I've seen similar numbers and wonder what the hell they're smoking.

When an otherwise well respected "Scientific American" announced a few years back that there were other worlds exactly like Earth because of the laws of probability I computed how many monkeys would be required to get a readable copy of "War and Peace on the first try.  It came out 4.2 x 10^807,000th.

It ain't gonna happen.

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 03:36 AM

This is just a case of the weak anthropic principle of cosmology taken to the extreme. While I can't fault the math, using the probablity to calculate anything with so many variables, the odds of it being even the least bit near correct *or able to falsify it like with all science) is kind of remote. It isn't like someone else can put in those numbers and variables expecting a similar outcome, and even if they got one, if they got one of the variables wrong it would throw the whole thing into question...

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### #9 Wookietim

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 01:31 PM

There is no limit to the size of a number - imagine the biggest number, then just add one and continue...

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 07:09 PM

probably an 8 trillion+ digit number as my guess

thats a very interesting story about the shark and how it tried to eat you, but it still doesnt answer my question.  where the hell is my sandwitch!?

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:21 PM

Wookietim on Apr 17 2008, 08:31 AM, said:

There is no limit to the size of a number - imagine the biggest number, then just add one and continue...

indeed. Hence the mathematical use of "infinity", and not a specific maximum

Am I supposed to be a sceptic, just because I'm a scientist?
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### #12 Celumnaz

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 08:34 PM

thought it was going to be a word, like thousand, million, google, etc...

whatever the biggest number is, I'll take two.

### #13 MusicIsLife

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:25 PM

So, you're basically saying that life is impossible?  Or are you trying to prove that their has to be a creator in order for life to actually be a success.  My head hurts from reading that.  Life is impossible, yet here we are discussing the impossibility of life? *confusion*

### #14 muddpuppy

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:27 PM

10,000 is the highest number, because thats as high as I can count without a calculater

Edited by muddpuppy, 21 April 2008 - 08:27 PM.

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### #15 goodog

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:09 PM

that would work

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