A Conversation With My 6-year Old Daugther Angelica

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Publication date:

April 25, 2021

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A: “Daddy, what is the biggest number in the world?”

Me: “Infinity.”

A: “What about infinity plus one?”

Me: “Hm. Infinity is a concept, not a number.”

A: “What is a concept?”

Me: “Uh! Something abstract.”

A: “What is abstract?”

Me: “It means that it is just an idea and does not really exist”.

A: “How can it be the biggest number if it doesn’t exist?”

Me: “Hm. Good question.”

A:  “You don’t know, do you, Daddy?”

Me:  “Do you know what a googol is?”

A: “No”.

Me: “That is a 1 with 100 zeros behind it!”

A: “Wow! That’s a big number! Can I write it?”

Me: ” Sure, but you will need a big page.”

A: “I want to see how big that number is.”

Me: “OK”.

A: “How come this number is not bigger than infinity? It looks so big!”

Me: “A googoll is big but infinity is bigger.”

A: “How many more zeros, Daddy?”

Me:” We don’t write infinity with zeros.”

A: “How do you write infinity?”

Me: “Like an 8 that fell over.”

A: “How do you know this is the biggest number? It has no zeros!”

Me: “Infinity is a concept, not a number”.

A: “Hm. [not convinced]. Ok”

Me: “Go ask your mom if she knows what a googol is.”

[off she goes, then comes back]

A: “She does not know, Daddy.”

Me: “Let me show you something”.

[I flip open my iPad and show her the Google search page].

Me: “Do you see Goooo….ooogle?”

A : “Cool. Looks like the “o”s are zeros”.

Me: “They are. The Google name comes from the googol number”.

A: “Really?”

Me: “Yep!”

A: “I am going to ask mom if she knows that.”

[off she goes, then comes back]

A: “She is on the phone”.

Me: ” You can ask her later”.

A. “Daddy, why is infinity the biggest number?”

Me: “It just is, that is why it is a concept”.

A: “Can I count to infinity?”

Me: ” Sure, but it is going to take a very long time?”

A. “How long?”

Me: “Well, you will never get there.”

A. “But I can count fast!”

Me: “It is going to take an infinite amount of time.”

A. : “What is infinite?”

Me: “Infinity in time?”

A. : “Is that the biggest time?”

Me: “Yes”.

A. “How come you know all that, Daddy?”

Me: ” I am a mathematician”.

A. : ” A math-magician?”

Me: “No. [well, sort of]. A mathematician”.

A. “What is a mathematician?”

Me: “Somebody who is good at math.”

A. “But I  am good at math!”

Me: “So, you are a mathematician.”

A. : “I am a little mathematician, you are a big mathematician.”

Me:”Yep.  You want to watch a cartoon?”

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