From my years of teaching introductory astronomy in community colleges, I estimate that: 85%
of the adult American population does not realize Millions and Billions*I use a meter stick as "a picture of a thousand"
If
1 millimeter is used to represent ANYTHING, A kilometer is 1000 meters (a little over half a mile) A
kilometer is to a meter There
are 1,000 millimeters in a meter; there are 1,000
meters in a kilometer. A billion millimeters would be 1000 kilometers. Our numbering system was not designed for easy visualization: It
was designed for easy computation! (Adding
a couple of zeros to a number doesn't make the number look much
bigger, Adding a zero makes a number ten times bigger. Adding three zeros makes a number 1000 times bigger.
The numbers, as written, look like stairsteps, and the names suggest a uniform sequence, ...but that is deceptive! Each step represents a number 1,000 times bigger than the previous step. Quiz Question: Counting by millions, what comes after a million? Is it a billion? Answer:
NO. After a million comes two million, then three
million, then four million, etc. The vertical scale of the LCurve is based on the thickness of a $100 bill. A $100 bill is 1/10 of a millimeter thick. If you start stacking $100 bills, the size of the pile would be:
A bumper sticker I saw recently says, Another
possibility is that you just may not understand the numbers. *In longstanding British usage the word Billion is taken to mean a million millions (1 followed by 12 zeros). A British reader of this site informs me, however, that this is no longer the case. What Americans call a billion is 1000 millions (1 followed by 9 zeros). Throughout this web site we mean Billion in the American sense of the word. This site is designed and maintained by David Chandler
