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# The largest number ever to exsist?

## 34 posts in this topic

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

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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?

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Mind boggling, eh?

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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!

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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.

Harte

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

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probably an 8 trillion+ digit number as my guess

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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

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

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

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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*

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

Edited by muddpuppy

that would work

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

Harte

This is true, Harte.

However, that idea is not what I'm addressing.

I speak to the fact that one can have an ever larger number, or an ever smaller number that never hits zero...not that a number cannot reach the zero point.

All one has to do to get to zero is get there.

What I'm saying is that if you have a rediculously large number , like 10E1,000,000...you can always make it larger. And if you have a ridculously small number like 10E-1,000,000, you can make it smaller indefinitely, without ever reaching zero (10E-1,000,000,000,000, for instance! ).

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This is true, Harte.

However, that idea is not what I'm addressing.

I speak to the fact that one can have an ever larger number, or an ever smaller number that never hits zero...not that a number cannot reach the zero point.

All one has to do to get to zero is get there.

What I'm saying is that if you have a rediculously large number , like 10E1,000,000...you can always make it larger. And if you have a ridculously small number like 10E-1,000,000, you can make it smaller indefinitely, without ever reaching zero (10E-1,000,000,000,000, for instance! ).

MID, I'm impressed. are you a mathematic professor, or a scientist of some sort, because you know alot about all these areas of science

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MID, I'm impressed. are you a mathematic professor, or a scientist of some sort, because you know alot about all these areas of science

...nah!

No mathematics professor here.

Just an old dummy.

When I was an engineerring student back in the old days (whew...) I found myself getting absorbed with everything: mathematics, physics, astronomy and cosmology, astronautics, celestial mechanics...and, oddly enough, Oriental philosophy (huh???). I wanted to know everything about all of it...much to the chagrin of my professors

As a result, I know absolutely nothing about everything!!!

...but seriously, thank you again for the nice comments!

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As a result, I know absolutely nothing about everything!!!

...but seriously, thank you again for the nice comments!

We should pair you up with someone who knows everything about nothing, any quantum physicists around?

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as ppl have already said, there can be no largest number coz numbering is an abstract method of quantifying... well... quantity !!

im thinking what u should be considering is the need for numbers larger than is useful. as u said if there are a finite quantity of atoms/electrons/quarks/mesons/stranglets in the universe then there is no need for a number larger than that (even if a larger number can be measured or calculated).

quantification is infinite, just like the meaning of the word 'infinite'

Min xx

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Tiggs has extensive knowledge of physics and quantum theory. You may wish to ask him to join in with some insight.

We should pair you up with someone who knows everything about nothing, any quantum physicists around?

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Tiggs has extensive knowledge of physics and quantum theory. You may wish to ask him to join in with some insight.

im sure he'll poke his baldy little bonce in if he feels the need !!

Mmmwah Tiggs !!

Min xx

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as ppl have already said, there can be no largest number coz numbering is an abstract method of quantifying... well... quantity !!

im thinking what u should be considering is the need for numbers larger than is useful. as u said if there are a finite quantity of atoms/electrons/quarks/mesons/stranglets in the universe then there is no need for a number larger than that (even if a larger number can be measured or calculated).

quantification is infinite, just like the meaning of the word 'infinite'

Min xx

It's not impossible we'll find that atomic components are comprised of large numbers of parts

or maybe "dark matter" is.

There may not be a lot of practical value to knowing if it's more likely for a monkey to write

War and Peace or to get 6' of snow in the Sahara in August but they are legitimate questions.

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A number is an abstract idea. It gives a figure to a certain property so that it can be identified. Numbers are all in your head. Therefore, they never have a maximum.

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I still think everyone is making a mistake by assuming that what we see and what we know about reality is all there is. Like. Fair enough this guy calculated this insane number but it was only calculated from what he knew of this reality and then concluded that its an impossibility so it must've been God that intervened. I don't see why jumping to God in a situation like this is necessary. Everything in existence might just be very symmetrical due to how they came into existence. I prefer to think of our universe as a byproduct of sorts. An eventual anomoly resulting from a "perfect" many dimensional construct. Everything when looking at a larger scale compared to a smaller scale of the same thing is going to show up as some form of equilibrium and symmetry. I don't see why we have to assume that God somehow intervened directly with this. If God did intervene I think it goes more deep than simple "creation." Creation is too simple of an answer for me.

(Once again I suck at explaining my ideas since my mind is jumping from one thing to another, fingers finding it hard to keep up.)

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