“Ten Unquadragintilliard”

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The title of this blog post is the number 1 with 250 zeroes at the end of it.  It’s a number so huge that it is greater than the number of particles of matter in the entire universe.

It’s also the number of different ways you can arrange 128 tennis balls.

Researchers at Cambridge University have determined this.  If you’re wondering why on earth anyone would care about arranging tennis balls, check it out here.  The practical applications are very interesting:  http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/how-many-ways-can-you-arrange-128-tennis-balls-researchers-solve-an-apparently-impossible-problem


Read the article linked above.  Answer the following questions in a couple of paragraphs:

Why do you think researchers investigated 128 tennis balls (ie, what special property does 128 have that might make it an interesting one to study?)  What practical applications might this discovery have?  Explain what “entropy” is and how this study factors entropy into the tennis ball problem.


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