organization: Kuchipudi Kalaa Kendram
address: Mvp colony, Sector-5, Lig-95, Visakhapatnam
state: Andhra Pradesh
Of course, Archimedes was just guessing about the size of the universe, though he did use the best astronomy available in his time—namely, the work of Aristarchus, who anticipated Copernicus. Besides estimates for the size of the universe and of a sand grain, the other thing Archimedes needed was a way to name arbitrarily large numbers. Since he didn’t have Arabic numerals or scientific notation, his system was basically just to compose the word “myriad” (which means 10,000) into bigger and bigger chunks: a “myriad myriad” gets its own name, a “myriad myriad myriad” gets another, and so on. Using this system, Archimedes estimated that ~10 63 sand grains would suffice to fill the universe. Ancient Hindu mathematicians were able to name similarly large numbers using similar notations. In some sense, the next really fundamental advances in naming big numbers wouldn’t occur until the 20 th century.