The weird and wonderful quest for unfathomably large numbers
From cells in our bodies to measuring the universe, big numbers are everywhere
We all know that numbers go on forever, that you could spend your life counting and never reach the end of the line, so there can’t be such a thing as a ‘biggest number’. Or can there?
To find out, David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee embark on an epic quest, revealing the answers to questions like: are there more grains of sand on Earth or stars in the universe? Is there enough paper on Earth to write out the digits of a googolplex? And what is a googolplex?
Then things get serious.
Enter the strange realm between the finite and the infinite, and float through a universe where the rules we cling to no longer apply. Encounter the highest number computable and infinite kinds of infinity. At every turn, a cast of wild and wonderful characters threatens the status quo with their ideas, and each time the numbers get larger.
Agnijo Banerjee is one of the world’s most outstanding young mathematicians and a former student of David Darling’s. He was born in Kolkata, India, but has spent most of his life in Scotland. He is now continuing his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Together with Darling, he is the co-author of the Weird Maths trilogy, and The Biggest Number in the World.
‘A wonderful new book… if you love journeying into imagined mathematical worlds and simply exploring, then [this book] is pure, unadulterated escapism… brilliant.’
– New Scientist
‘We are taken on an amazing adventure… [with] witty humour and fascinating facts… a comprehensive read that I would struggle to find fault in and for anyone with a passion for maths, or a knack for numbers, I couldn’t recommend it enough!’
– Astronomy Ireland
‘The brilliant combination of an accomplished science writer and a young mathematical prodigy has resulted in page after page that oozes enthusiasm, clarity and intrigue.’