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“Is infinity a number?”

July 13th, 2009

I love being a mama because I get the hard questions. At 9 a.m.

“Is infinity a number?”

Um, yes. (Oh, wait. It’s an abstract concept, so it’s not a number?)

Didn’t realize I was settling a bet between two 7-year-olds.

Thank you, Wiki Answers.

“No, infinity is not a number, in the mathematical sense. It is a symbol for “unlimited”. As such it has uses in various theories in math and in physics. The simplest proof is adding a real value, such as 1, to infinity. Just as zero times any number is still zero, infinity plus any value will remain “infinity”.

What is the biggest number other than infinity?
In: Math

Protected question
This question can not be answered for the following two reasons:

1. In the modern real number system, there is no limit to how large a number can be. Whatever number is presented to you, you may add 1 or more to it to make it even bigger than it was originally.
2. Infinity is not a number. Infinity is a concept that in the number system there is no definite end to the positive or negative value a number may have.

____

If you are just looking for a very large number, a ‘googol’ is the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes, and that is one of the largest numbers that actually has a name.

A centillion is the largest standard named number.

A googleplex is a 1 followed by a google number of zeroes, which is larger yet.

Skewes number is much larger still.”

Wacky Boy, “See?”

His buddy, “Huh.”

Wacky Boy, “He thought you could make any number bigger by saying ‘pizza’ after it.”

I need another cup of coffee. That’s the answer.

3 Comments

  1. Debbie Davis says

    This is great – infinity plus one! enJOY your day!

    July 13th, 2009 | #

  2. Steve says

    While not a number, infinity is treated differently than a NaN (“Not a Number”), at least as implemented under ANSI/IEEE Std. for Binary Floting-Point Arithmetic 754-1985.

    So it’s neither a number nor a NaN.

    Poor infinity.

    Don’t get me started on signed zero. ["When the sum of two operands with opposite signs (or the difference of two operands with like signs) is exactly zero, the sign of that sum (or difference) shall be + in all rounding modes except round toward -∞, in which mode that sign shall be -. However....]

    July 13th, 2009 | #

  3. WackyMommy says

    What he said. Perhaps you and the children should have a math lesson when you get home. Brush up on the skills little bit.

    July 13th, 2009 | #

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