The secret world of large numbers

S H I R A L I, P A D M A P R I Y A (2017) The secret world of large numbers. At Right Angles, 6 (2). pp. 2-11.

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Increasingly, we live in a world where large numbers seem to bombard us from all directions. Thanks to globalization and knowledge explosion, encounters with very large numbers happen on a regular basis. Yet, one pertinent question is: ‘Does increased exposure necessarily lead to an understanding of the size of these numbers?’ Or is it possible that we underestimate the size of these due to their constant use! Does excessive familiarity prevent right perspec- tive? Also, will not a lack of understanding of large numbers lead to an ineffective interpreta- tion and reasoning in using such numbers? Our comprehension and the students’ understand- ing of the world remain incomplete unless we are able to appreciate the size and scope of these numbers. Yet, visualization and understanding of even relatively small numbers like ten thousand and a lakh (hundred thousand) may be difficult for many people. When does one see ten thousand units of some object? Do one’s every day experiences include such numbers?

Item Type: Articles in APF Magazines
Uncontrolled Keywords: numbers, magnitude, large, comprehension, lakh, crore, million, billion, trillion, light year, place value
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Mathematics
Divisions: Azim Premji University > University publications > At Right Angles
Depositing User: Mr. Sachin Tirlapur
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2018 15:59
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2018 15:59
Publisher URL:

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