Bruce Camber’s Sister-in-law
First email: Sunday, 29 April 2018
Let’s see if we can get inside the story known as the Wheat & Chessboard.*
It is a simple-but-mind-boggling story. Although there are many other
versions, I enjoy the version that uses pennies, not wheat! My summary:
264 is 18,446,744,073,709,551,616. If it were in pennies, you would end up
with over $184,467,440,737,095,516.16 dollars. Rounding down a little,
it would be about $184,467 trillion.
Just to put that in context, in 2017 the global debt of all the nations,
all companies, and all people was estimated to be $215 trillion.
You could pay off everyone’s debt everywhere and hardly knew you did it! That’s the beginning of “mind boggling.”
Now, our chart of the universe is a lot like the chessboard but instead
of 64 squares, it would have an uneven 202. If the board were 14 across
and 14 down, it would have 196 squares; and if 15-by-15, it would have
225 squares. If it were three dimensional, we could have two stacks of
10-by-10 (with an extra two squares) or three stacks of eight-by-eights
with three squares left over for each plate and one square left over
for the stack of three. That would add up to 202 squares. It appears
that in just 202 squares we can account for everything, everywhere
for all time; that’s the sum total of our little universe!
Crazy, isn’t it?
And I guess one has to be a little crazy to be thinking about
such things…. it is all quite simple if we slow down
a little and think about it.
I know you are very good with numbers and thought you’d get a kick out of it!
Be well. Give my brother a squeeze!
PS. To access this letter: It is in with my letters to scholars right here:
https://81018.com/alphabetical/#R. You’ll see your name under the Rs.
* The URL for the first link — https://81018.com/wheat-chessboard/ — once went to a page in Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_and_chessboard_problem