Naming of Numbers – Short Scale and Traditional Long Scale
By: Donald Frazer (Egyptology Man)
I appreciate that many of you reading this will ask what have modern numeracy systems got to do with ancient egypt. Well on the surface very little and in this blog I am not even trying to establish a historic link which is achievable by the way. The reason it is that it is very important to understand the current numeric principles and convensions we use to understand the exact subject matter I will be posting over the coming weeks. The Egyptians were very skilled mathematicians and had an very advanced system they employed to understand the world around them. To really get to grips with this we need to understand exactly what WE mean as well.
The table below is a breakdown of convension we use which are often unknown or at least not well understood and I hope it stands alone as a useful guide and a good reference.
USA and Modern UK
Traditional UK, not used much now
|1015 thousand billion, billiard|
|1021 thousand trillion, trilliard|
|1027 thousand quadrillion|
|1033 thousand quintillion|
For most of the 19th and 20th centuries, the United Kingdom uniformly used the long scale, while the United States of America used the short scale, so that usage of the two systems was often referred to as “British” and “American” respectively. In 1974 the government of the UK abandoned the long scale, so that the UK now applies the short scale interpretation exclusively in mass media and official usage.
Although some residual long-scale usage still continues, the terms “British” and “American” no longer represent accurate terminology. Trigintillion, often cited as a word in discussions of names of large numbers.
I hope this is of use to some people 🙂