Good question – well infinity yes but that gets tricky since infinity+1 or indeed infinity-1 is still infinity so it’s a bit of a strange number. Bringing it back closer to reality then imagine counting something that exists – you probably can’t get much more than the number of atoms in the universe – this number is approx 1 with 80 zeros after it ie 10^{80}. Or you could ask how many photons (light particles) are there in the universe – there are about 400 per every cubic cm of the universe. Volume of the universe is tricky (we don’t really know it’s shape …) but that’d give about 10 with 89 zeros of photons in the universe. So in terms of something that is real a number with 80-100 zeros on it is I’d say is a reasonable “biggest” number. When my students do calculations and get a larger number I ask them to check their Maths – it’s invariably wrong !

Infinity is not a number, isn’t it just a concept? If infinity-1 = infinity+1 = infinity then 0=2 which defies the laws of maths! I reckon the biggest number ever is 42

## Comments

Jocommented on :Uncountable infinity? Maths is not my bag, 35yarders.

Markcommented on :Good question – well infinity yes but that gets tricky since infinity+1 or indeed infinity-1 is still infinity so it’s a bit of a strange number. Bringing it back closer to reality then imagine counting something that exists – you probably can’t get much more than the number of atoms in the universe – this number is approx 1 with 80 zeros after it ie 10^{80}. Or you could ask how many photons (light particles) are there in the universe – there are about 400 per every cubic cm of the universe. Volume of the universe is tricky (we don’t really know it’s shape …) but that’d give about 10 with 89 zeros of photons in the universe. So in terms of something that is real a number with 80-100 zeros on it is I’d say is a reasonable “biggest” number. When my students do calculations and get a larger number I ask them to check their Maths – it’s invariably wrong !

Moderator - Craigcommented on :Infinity is not a number, isn’t it just a concept? If infinity-1 = infinity+1 = infinity then 0=2 which defies the laws of maths! I reckon the biggest number ever is 42