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The numbers keep getting bigger: 30 zeroes have been named

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Most people are familiar with a number with six zeros: that’s a million, add three more zeros and you have a billion. But larger numbers are usually named with a scientific term.

For example, a number with 12 zeros is Tera, a number with 21 zeros is Zeta, and 24 zeros is Yota. The terms didn’t go beyond that, but as we use more and more data, the numbers are getting bigger. So, a name had to be devised for a number with 30 zeros. It became Quetta.

“We want to prevent the spread of conditions,” Gert Rietveld of the National Metrology Institute explains to EditiNL. “Big data users like Google and Amazon had already made their own terms for large numbers, which scientists wanted to avoid.”

Even then, a hard disk with a kilobyte of memory isn’t in store for the time being. In practice, only scientists use this number, says Meno Lagerve, a math teacher at Math with Meno. “Nobody needs these big numbers at home. We use these kinds of numbers in science or when you’re working with very large data. Scientists often use these big numbers in shorthand: for example, 10 to 30.” They do this to prevent errors in calculations. “If you write down all the zeros, it’s easy to forget one.” But now they can also summon 10 to the power of 30 Quetta.

Trillion or billion?

In everyday life we ​​use prefixes for large numbers, think a million, a trillion or a trillion. Scientists use the terms A scientist says ‘giga’ where a common man says ‘billion’. According to Lagerwey, this is not for nothing. “A unified use of the language is useful because it’s so confusing right now. For example, in America, a trillion is a billion.”

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Now there are terms for the largest numbers as well Internationally listed in the SI Table. “This list was last updated in 1991,” Rietveld explains. “So let’s move on again. Although the number is growing rapidly with current techniques.”

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