Saturday, January 04, 2014

Remember "googol"?

Apropos of nothing except an attic clean-out: it makes me feel old to realize that I wrote this (for kids) before Google existed.  Accidentally dated...

Math Lesson
A googol's a number designed to boggle--
a "1" with a hundred zeros in train--
do you think there have been, since the world began,
a googol drops of rain?
Or might there be, on any beach
a googol grains of sand?
Or in God's mind, on a given day
a googol actions planned?                              

The name came from Kasner, the mathematician
(though legend has it his son supplied it):
What did he do with it after he named it?
He thought about it and multiplied it,
leaving us with the Googolplex--
which all the world's mathematical heroes,
writing together, year by year
could never supply with all its zeroes.

Googolplex! Ten to the googol power--
more zeroes than the eye can see.
The power of googol--what does that mean?
It means a lot to me.

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