[R] Off Topic: teenie weenie numbers -- Was: Precision level

Steve Lianoglou mailinglist.honeypot at gmail.com
Fri Mar 26 19:33:48 CET 2010

On Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 1:11 PM, Barry Rowlingson
<b.rowlingson at lancaster.ac.uk> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 4:31 PM, Bert Gunter <gunter.berton at gene.com> wrote:
>> Although machine precision (smallest numerical values that can be exactly
>> represented) is important for numerical calculations, what is the smallest
>> number that anyone has actually seen describing physical phenomena in
>> science? I've seen values of ca. 1e-20 or so routinely used in physics on
>> both size (e.g quarks) and time scales (lifetimes of evanescent particles).
>> Beyond that about the smallest values I've seen are about 1e-40 or so
>> seconds in discussions of Big Bang dynamics. Does anyone know of smaller
>> ones (and those I've quoted might certainly be off somewhat).
>  Hmmm smaller than 1e40... Well, I think I've seen the charge on an
> electron given as much, much smaller than that...

Here's another: after ~4 years of graduate school, Citibank is
starting to send me bank statements using these numbers to quantify
the amount of $$ I have in the bank ...

"Oh, I just earned $.02 interest? ... thanks for the email
notification, Citibank!"

>> Just curious. Hope this abuse of the list is not too egregious. Ignore if
>> you think it is.
>  It's Casual Friday.



Steve Lianoglou
Graduate Student: Computational Systems Biology
 | Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
 | Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Contact Info: http://cbio.mskcc.org/~lianos/contact

More information about the R-help mailing list