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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » Are there more ways to arrange a deck of cards than the number of atoms in the universe? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Inner circle
St. Louis, MO
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Profile of Tortuga
On Sep 16, 2020, MC Mirak wrote:
On Sep 14, 2020, Tortuga wrote:
How does one count the number of atoms in something?

The Avogadro constant (NA[1] or L[2]) is the proportionality factor that relates the number of constituent particles (usually molecules, atoms or ions) in a sample with the amount of substance in that sample. Its SI unit is the reciprocal mole, and it is defined as NA = 6.02214076X1023 mol-1. It is named after the Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro.

The average 70 kg (150 lb) adult human body contains approximately 7×1027 atoms

I got this from the internet so it has to be true.
It's never crowded on the extra mile....
Papa Legba
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home-an unremarkable spiral arm of an insignificant galaxy
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Profile of Papa Legba
On Jun 16, 2020, Chris K wrote:
Is there is a qualitative difference between stating there are more ways to arrange a deck of cards than:
-grains of sand on the Earth
-atoms on Earth
-atoms in our solar system
-atoms in our galaxy
-atoms in our galactic cluster
-atoms in our universe

I think, qualitatively, they are the same to our spectators. I'll put it a different way: if somebody leaves your show and says "That was cool but it would have been more impressive if the odds of the effect were greater than the number of atoms in the galaxy, not just our solar system" then something is seriously wrong, and it isn't math.

There's enough literature about how humans can't conceive of astronomical numbers and I think that was born out in this discussion Smile. Heck, CARL SAGAN had to write a book, for viewers of Cosmos, explaining the difference (in actual scale, not just adding 3 zeroes) between a billion and a million. An actual interesting way to think about it is as follows:
- It takes a little over 11 and 1/2 days to count to a million (at 1 number/second)
- It takes over 31 and 1/2 years to count to a billion

All that being said, here are the actual numbers so there's no more argument. I'll even provide sources.

52!: 8.0658175e+67 from!
The estimated number of atoms in the observable universe (10^80) from
Number of particles in the universe: 3.28 x 10^80 from
Cells in the human body: ~4X10^13 from:

A generally fun NASA website (random entry selected):

I think the link Steven shares above illustrates giving people a reference to understand numbers versus just vomiting numbers at them (and almost nobody can conceptualize the number of atoms in the galaxy).

Here's another link that is interesting and illustrates a bit how people think about numbers: "Dealing with Big Numbers: Representation and Understanding of Magnitudes Outside of Human Experience"

Humans certainly CAN conceiev of large numbers, the very fact that we are talikng about them, have ways of recording them on paper and even have names for some of them is the proof.
Use the FORCE Luke.
Mike Powers
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52! is similar in size to the number of atoms in our galaxy, not the entire universe. A google search on "number of atoms in our galaxy" reveals this - Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains approximately 100 to 400 billion stars. If we take this as 200 billion or 2 × 10^11 stars and assume that our sun is a reasonable average size we can calculate that our galaxy contains about (1.2 × 10^56) × (2 × 10^11) = 2.4 × 10^67 atoms which is the same order of magnitude as 52!

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