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Age of Universe in billions?

  1. Oct 29, 2012 #1

    The Universe in 14 billion years old.

    Is that then:

    14,000,000,000,000 or 14 million million as in 1.4x1013 years old


    14,000,000,000 or 14 thousand million as in 1.4x1010 years old

    (I know a billionaire has a thousand million 1,000,000,000)

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2012 #2


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    14 billion is 14,000,000,000, IE 1.4x1010
  4. Oct 29, 2012 #3
    14 billion would be 1.4x1010

    and 14,000,000,000

    in millions that would be 14 thousand millions
  5. Oct 29, 2012 #4


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    Part of the confusion from this comes from the fact that Europe used to use Long scale in which every named number (billion, trillion etc) over a million was a million times bigger than the one before. A billion would be a million million, a trillion would be a million billion etc.

    In the US they used Short scale where it was 1000 times bigger. At some point in the 20th Europe switched but you still find people in the UK at least who are old and stubborn enough to try and stick to the old system.
  6. Oct 29, 2012 #5


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    depends on what country you come from ;)

    but generally accepted is 1 billion = 1000 million or 1 x 109

    see wiki for this.....

    long and short scales

    scroll down a bit for a good table of values

  7. Oct 29, 2012 #6
    Great thank you all
  8. Oct 29, 2012 #7
    That's a funny comment. The old system seems more logical to me. A billion should be a million million. (I'm not from the UK nor the US.)

    Then a trillion is a thousand billion, 1,000,000,000,000 = 1.0 x 1012

  9. Oct 29, 2012 #8


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    The UK is a mish-mash of systems in the oddest of ways.

    Not sure I follow, why would a billion be a million million but a trillion a thousand million? The standard 3 orders of magnitude per name seems to make more sense to me.
  10. Oct 29, 2012 #9
    I should not have written "Then..." as I didn't mean for the second statement to follow on from the first. I was just guessing at what a trillion is.

    I think the standard 3 orders of magnitude per name is convenient but it doesn't allow for ten thousand million or a one hundred thousand million. Those numbers don't exist like that then I suppose. (Of course those quantities exist)
  11. Oct 29, 2012 #10


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    It's 1 with twelve zeros: 1,000,000,000,000. The link provided above for long and short scale has some tables.
    You can say it and people will still understand but otherwise you're correct, every time you get to 1000x more you use a different word. It's a bit easier to say one-hundred-trillion than one-hundred-thousand-billion or one-hundred-million-million etc.
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