World’s Largest Named Number: Googol
Sometime in the 1930s, an American mathematician, Edward Kasner, was walking his nephews along the New Jersey Palisades when he asked them to help him name a particularly long number in an effort to pique their interest in mathematics. One nephew, nine-year-old Milton suggested “googol”. But it wasn’t until 1940 that the word was first introduced in a non-technical publication surveying the field of mathematics: Mathematics and the Imagination.
A googol is one followed by a hundred zeros or as follows.
1.0 x 10100
Milton also suggested googolplex; larger than a googol, “but still finite” as Kasner was quick to remark.
Yes, the Internet search giant falls into place here. It is known that the name Google came from a misspelling of googol. Googleplex, the headquarters of Google in California is similarly derived from googolplex!
Googolplex can be written as follows:
10 x 10googol or 10(10100)
To put it into perspective, a googol is 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.