Whether describing the vastness of the stars or the microscopic intricacies of the humanbody, the need to use large numbers is often inevitable.When we consider the estimated 200,000,000,000 (200billion) stars in the Milky Way Galaxy or the estimated150,000,000,000 (150 billion) galaxies in the universeor the estimated 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion)cells in the adult human body, we are forced to usenumbers so large we cannot comprehend their meaning.Let’s try to use our imaginations to placesome of these large numbers in perspective. (In sodoing, we will use the American nomenclature forlarge numbers described below.)

We will use money as a teaching toolto illustrate the magnitude of large numbers. Whetheryou stack it, spread it, line it up, or spend it,we hope you’ll think of money and large numbersin a new way after you read this section.

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## Money Stacks

One way to better understand largenumbers is to compare the heights of stacks of varyingnumbers of dollar bills. The thickness of a singleone dollar bills steps .0043 inches or .0000000679miles.

The height of a stack of 100 one dollarbills measures .43 inches.

The height of a stack of 1,000 onedollar bills measures 4.3 inches.

The height of a stack of 1,000,000one dollar bills measures 4,300 inches or 358 feet – aboutthe height of a 30 to 35 story building.

The height of a stack of 100,000,000(one hundred million) one dollar bills measures 35,851feet or 6.79 miles. This would reach from the earth’ssurface to the approximate altitude at which commercialjetliners fly.

The height of a stack of 1,000,000,000(one billion) one dollar bills measures 358,510 feetor 67.9 miles. This would reach

fromthe earth’s surface into the lower portionof the troposphere – one of the major outerlayers of earth’s atmosphere.The height of a stack of 100,000,000,000(one hundred billion) one dollar bills measures 6,786.6miles. A column of bills this high would extend 28times higher than the orbiting International SpaceStation.The height of a stack of 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion)one dollar bills measures 67,866 miles. This wouldreach more than one fourth the way from the earthto the moon.

The height of a stack of 100,000,000,000,000(one hundred trillion) one dollar bills measures6,786,616 miles. This would reach from the earthto the moon and back 14 times.

## Money Carpets

Another way to appreciate large numbersis to consider the area covered by varying numbersof dollar bills. The area covered by a single onedollar bill measures 16.0254 square inches.

Thearea covered by 100 one dollar bills measures 11.13square feet.The area covered by 1,000 one dollarbills measures 111.29 square feet.

The area covered by 1,000,000 one dollarbills measures 111,287.5 square feet. This wouldcover an area approximately equal to the size oftwo football fields.

The area covered by 100,000,000 (onehundred million) one dollar bills measures .4 squaremiles. This would cover an area equal to the sizeof 255.5 acres.

The area covered by 1,000,000,000 (onebillion) one dollar bills measures 4 square miles.This would cover an area equal to the size of 2,555acres.

The area covered by 100,000,000,000(one hundred billion) one dollar bills measures 400square miles. This would cover an area equal to one-third the size of the state of Rhode Island.

The area covered by 1,000,000,000,000(one trillion) one dollar bills measures 3,992 squaremiles. This would cover an area equal to twice thesize of the state of Delaware.

The area covered by 100,000,000,000,000(one hundred trillion) one dollar bills measures399,189 square miles. This would cover an area roughlyequal to the size of Texas and California combined.

## Money Lines

Yet another way to understand largenumbers is to compare the lengths of varying numbersof dollar bills laid end-to-end. The length of asingle one dollar bills measures 6.14 inches.

The length of 100 one dollar billslaid end-to-end measures 614 inches or 51.17 feet.

The length of 1,000 one dollar billslaid end-to-end measures 512 feet. This would approximatethe length of some of the longer home run balls hitby professional baseball players. (The world recordfor the longest home run, estimated at 643 feet, wasset in 1961 by Mickey Mantle.)

The length of 1,000,000 (one million)one dollar bills laid end-to-end extends 96.9 miles.This would easily traverse the 21 miles across theEnglish Channel from the shores of England to theshores of France and back more than two and a halftimes.

The length of 100,000,000 (one hundredmillion) one dollar bills laid end-to-end measures9,690 miles. This would reach

fromWashington D.C., USA to Sydney, Australia.The length of 1,000,000,000 (one billion)one dollar bills laid end-to-end measures 96,900miles. This would extend around the earth almost4 times.

The length of 100,000,000,000 (onehundred billion) one dollar bills laid end-to-endmeasures 9,690,656 miles. This would extend aroundthe earth 387 times.

The length of 1,000,000,000,000 (onetrillion) one dollar bills laid end-to-end measures96,906,656 miles. This would exceed the distancefrom the earth to the sun.

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The length of 100,000,000,000,000 (onehundred trillion) one dollar bills laid end-to-endmeasures 9,690,656,566 miles. This would reach fromthe earth to the planet Saturn and back six times.(Assuming Saturn at its nearest point to earth)

## Money Spent - Shop ‘til You Drop

Finally,let’s try to help those who love malls to understandlarge numbers by imagining the shopping spree ofa lifetime starting with varying amounts of money.Let’s say a shopper must spend $20 per secondand must do so 24 hours per day until penniless. (As you view the table below, this exercise willquickly give the expression “shop ‘tilyou drop” a whole new meaning.)

For example, a shopper beginning with$100 could shop for a mere five seconds. A shopperbeginning with $1,000 could shop for 50 seconds.

### Duration of Shopping SpreesWhile Spending $20 per Second

Starting Amount (Dollars) Duration of Shopping Spree1 | 1 second |

100 | 5 seconds |

1,000 | 50 seconds |

10,000 | 8 minutes 20 seconds |

100,000 | 1 hour 23 minutes |

1,000,000 | 13 hours 48 minutes |

10,000,000 | 138 hours (5 days 19 hours) |

100,000,000 | 57 days 21 hours |

1,000,000,000 | 578 days (1 year 214 days) |

1,000,000,000,000 | 1,585 years |

100,000,000,000,000 | 1,585 centuries |