# One Two Three Infinity By George Gamov PDF

### One Two Three Infinity

THERE is a story about two Hungarian aristocrats who decided to play a game in which the one who calls the largest number wins.

“Well,” said one of them, “you name your number first.” After a few minutes of hard mental work, the second aristocrat finally named the largest number he could think of. “Three,” he said.

Now it was the turn of the first one to do the thinking, but after a quarter of an hour he finally gave up. “You’ve won,” he agreed.

Of course, these two Hungarian aristocrats do not represent a very high degree of intelligence and this story is probably just malicious slander.

But such a conversation might actually have taken place if the two men had been, not Hungarians, but Hotten tots.

We have it indeed on the authority of African explorers that many Hottentot tribes do not have in their vocabulary the names for numbers larger than three.

Ask a native down there how many sons he has or how many enemies he has slain, and if the number is more than three he will answer “many.”

Thus in the Hottentot country in the art of counting fierce warriors would be beaten by an American child of kindergarten age who could boast the ability to count up to ten!

Nowadays we are quite accustomed to the idea that we can write as big a number as we please-whether it is to represent war expenditures in cents, or stellar distances in inches-by

This statement can be supported by another story of the same collection in which a group of Hungarian aristocrats lost their way hiking in the Alps.

One of them, it is said, Ink out a map, and after studying it for a long time, exclaimed: “Now I know where we are!” “Where asked the others. “See that big mountain over there? We are right on top of it.”

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