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What is a googolplex and what is it used for?

A "googol" is the number 10^100. A "googolplex" is an even larger number 10^[(10)^100]. You can find it, and other large numbers discussed in the book:"The Joy of Mathematics" by T. Pappus, published by Wide World Publ./Tetra (1989), or "Mathematical Mysteries" by Calvin C. Clawson, published by Perseus Books.

They are related to another number, actually several numbers, that bear their author's name: "Skews" numbers. Skews(1937) = 10^{10}^10^[10]^29 (approximately), which is less than Skews(1955) = 10^[10]^(10)^1000. These, and other large numbers arise out of number theory. They are related to a function pi(n) ['pi' here is not = 3.1415926...] but is a function that estimates the number of prime numbers less than the number 'n', which is related in turn to Gauss's Zeta function.

Vince Calder

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