What is the highest number you can count up to?

Jenny Podmore from Derbyshire (Age 5-14)

Erin Mchutchieson from Tyne and Wear (Age:5-14)

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Filed under: age 5-14, Andrew Evans' Big Answers, Answered Big Questions, Mathematics Big Questions |

Andrew Evans, on March 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm said:In theory, there isn’t an upper limit – any number you reach could just have 1 added to it to make a bigger number.

The largest number for which we have a name is “googolplex” – which is a one followed by a googol zeroes (a “googol” being a one followed by a hundred zeroes).

Practically, if you were to start counting from 1 the second you were born and increase by a number a second until you die at the age of 79 you’d reach only as high as 2,492,985,600 – less than half the number of people alive on the planet.

Juma wrd, on March 10, 2008 at 1:45 pm said:I would say that you can only count as long as you live but other than that there is no limit.

Eric Churchyard, on August 19, 2008 at 6:23 pm said:A very interesting question.

There is no limit to the highest number you can count to, becuase whatever number you can ever think of, no matter HOW big, I can always add another number to it, and make it even bigger!

And so, it carries on forever, or what the mathematicians call “infinity”.

However, the idea of counting to “infinity” leads to many interesting conclusions in mathematics, one of which is “calculus”, (the infintesimal calculus)

where …….

the idea of looking at the “changing” of “things” (like a vibrating string say) in smaller, and smaller, and smaller, and smaller, and smaller ………… (to an infinite number of times smaller) intervals .., that is, where the “interval” is sooooooooooo….. small it’s “dissappeared” …. leads to some VERY interesting conclusions !!

So …. your question actually is quite interesting if you think further !!

maddie, on December 19, 2008 at 7:13 pm said:Depends on how high your willing to go

christian tomlin, on January 26, 2009 at 10:38 pm said:I agree that it does depend on how high your willing to go, but, according to wikipedia, the largest number for which we have a name is not actually googolplex, it’s called graham’s number. I cannot provide the exact value of the number, but I can provide an approximation of the diagram wikipedia have used to express it.

3[etc]…..[etc]3

…………………..

3[etc]….[etc]3 }64 layers

3[arrow]…[arrow]3

3[vertical arrow]..[vertical arrow]3

Jose Pedro, on February 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm said:1000.

arjun, on March 10, 2009 at 9:41 pm said:the highest number is achaly 3 can you beleve that?

keith bauer, on August 16, 2009 at 3:23 am said:There are really two numbers that equal all. 0, 1.

Johnny Test, on August 19, 2009 at 3:50 am said:Grahams number and i am not putting it on here because its to big the second largest number although i will show 78203829836776497376454735687638265835768328905983682983268965793800238791357057263468236587623459875897679164918746357936056501362965982635978365982957936598735623672190795510598035809153650859801306713209835098913581385081651753908370153535701790875316893659831035089135358816578530105860315103905108365083195896135617

Einstein, on November 2, 2009 at 8:35 am said:The highest number is actually 7. Lemme explain.

When you count the numbers it says: 1(one)

2(two)

3(three)

4(four)

5(five)

6(six)

And then here comes the interesting bit.

7(seven)

8(eight but you say it like ate)

9(nine) and so on

so 7 ate 9, 10, 11 and etc etc

Einstein, on November 2, 2009 at 8:37 am said:But literally a googolplex is the highest number ðŸ˜›

Steph, on January 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm said:I can interpret this question in two different ways:

1) If a person sits down and begins counting, what is the highest number they can count up to in their life time?

or (more philosophically, and a much more interesting question, in my opinion)

2) Is there an upper limit to the set of all numbers, ie. is there one number that is larger than every other number, and if so what is it?

Since people already answered 1), I’ll go to 2). In this case, no, there is no largest number. The natural numbers are infinite. Pick any number n and make it as large as you like… but then observe that n+1 will always be bigger, and is still in the natural numbers. In pure mathematics, we say that the set of all natural numbers is unbounded, ie. there is no upper limit to them. They just keep on increasing forever.

Googolplex and Graham’s number aren’t the largest numbers possible, they are just some of the largest numbers people have bothered to give names.

Donna Dunmill, on February 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm said:The most highest number I could ever think of would probably be “CENTILLION”

Somberkitty, on May 23, 2010 at 3:44 am said:The biggest one that i have ever counted to was 10,000 but the biggest that i know of is googlplex but like it says above, that is just the highest number that they bothered to give a name because you could always add one. The highest i know of that is not grahms number or googlplex is sextillion (yes its real for those with dirty minds)

Versilis Tyson, on June 27, 2010 at 7:31 am said:The biggest number on the counting table is milli-million wich is 3000003 to the 10th power