A View from the Back of the Envelope top

Counting by powers of ten
Counting to ten billion... on your fingers
"What order of magnitude is ...?" game
Exponential Notation

"One, ten, hundred, thousand, ten thousand, hundred thousand, million, ten million, hundred million, billion, ..."

One1001. "ten to the zero"
ten10110. "ten to the one"
hundred102100. "ten to the two"
thousand1031,000. "ten to the three"
ten thousand10410,000. "ten to the four"
hundred thousand105100,000. "ten to the five"
million1061,000,000. "ten to the six"
ten million10710,000,000. "ten to the seven"
hundred million108100,000,000. "ten to the eight"
billion1091,000,000,000. "ten to the nine"
ten billion101010,000,000,000. "ten to the ten"
hundred billion1011100,000,000,000. "ten to the eleven"
trillion10121,000,000,000,000. "ten to the twelve"
ten trillion101310,000,000,000,000. "ten to the thirteen"
hundred trillion1014100,000,000,000,000. "ten to the fourteen"

Names are on threes... on 3, 6, 9 (thousand, million, billion). Each ,000,.

The names "billion" and "trillion" mean different things in different countries. This is the US version.
There are a few more names after "trillion", but they are almost never used.


IEER's Learning Common Prefixes. Includes SI prefixes.
Erik Max Francis's "A comprehensive table of all SI prefixes".

A View from the Back of the Envelope
Comments encouraged. - Mitchell N Charity <mcharity@lcs.mit.edu>


Some people count by `talking' the numbers, others by `seeing' them. (Source: Feynman's story (in "Curious Character"?)). You can try it and see. Counting "1, 2, 3, ...", are you saying "one, two, three", or are you picturing "1", "2", "3"? I say them, but sometimes practice picturing. Feynman reports that if you say them, you can read at the same time, but may have trouble talking. If you picture them, you can talk, but reading is difficult. Perhaps I should dig up the Feynman story and flesh this out as a page? It would also be nice to have a crosscheck on the concept.


  2003-Feb-03  Fixed 2 links.  Added this History.
  mid 1990's   Created.