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

Dimitri Liakhovitski ld7631 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 31 19:45:54 CEST 2010

I spoke with a theoretical physicist and he said he encountered 10^-120.
Has something to do with attempts to describe/explain the universe...

On Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 2:33 PM, Steve Lianoglou
<mailinglist.honeypot at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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
> --
> 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
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Dimitri Liakhovitski
Dimitri.Liakhovitski at ninah.com

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