I’ve been reading Edward Teller’s autobiography.

In a footnote (p. 247), Teller mentions that “the electron in a hydrogen atom will eventually jump to a proton if it is close enough”.

Teller and Francis Owen Rice calculated how long it would take, if the proton is 1 centimeter away.

Their answer was 10^{100,000,000}.

A long time. A “big number”.

That’s the same as 10^{108}, which is more than a googol (10^{100}), but much less than a googolplex (10^{10100}).

What’s that? You want to know what units?

You mean is the 10^{100,000,000} in Planck times (5.4 x 10^{-44} seconds), or seconds, or years, or time periods since the Big Bang?

*Doesn’t matter.* (Think about it.)

That’s how big a number it is.