The Middle of Everything Ever
After graduating from high school, without a clear plan for what to do next, Laura Andrews started asking herself a lot of questions. A spiral of big philosophical thoughts that led her to sit down and write to us with a question that was… oddly mathematical. What is the most average size thing, if you take into account everything in the universe. So, along with mathematician Steven Strogatz, we decided to see if we could sit down and, in a friendly throwdown of guesstimates and quick calculations, rough out an answer.
Special thanks to all the listeners who sent in their responses to this question.
Reported by - Soren Wheeler and Alex Neason
Produced by - Annie McEwen
with mixing help from - Arianne Wack
Fact-checking by - Natalie A. Middleton
and Edited by - Alex Neason
You can find links to many books by Steven Strogatz here: https://www.stevenstrogatz.com/all-books
And the podcast he does for Quanta Magazine, The Joy of Why, here: https://www.quantamagazine.org/tag/the-joy-of-why/
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how is the sum of 10^26 + 10^-38 is 10^-8????? it will be almost same as 10^26.
same question, that doesn't make any sense. a huge number plus a tiny number's average will be almost half of the big number. . unless he did a weighted average by the count of the things. also I think the question is asking the median, not average . the hosts ' understanding of math is disconcerting.
How is (10^(-8)) ÷ 2 = (10^(-4)) ?!