Definition:Googol/Historical Note

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Historical Note on Googol

The googol was apparently invented by a schoolchild writing $1$ followed by $100$ zeroes on a blackboard:


In discussing the googol, Edward Kasner and James Newman point out that the number of grains of sand on Coney Island is approximately $10^{20}$.

It is also estimated that the number of raindrops falling on New York, for example, during the course of a century, is far less than a googol.

The total number of particles in the visible universe, even, has been estimated as between $10^{80}$ and $10^{87}$, again still far less than a googol.

Numbers of this size are really only needed in the field of combinatorics, as was presciently suggested by Kasner and Newman.