3rd February 2004, 05:22 PM
I've just been playing with a little Java program, inspired by hearing things (not necessarily here) about swords being folded 'hundreds of times'.
I think the people don't realise that every time a sword is folded, the number of layers is doubled, and this very quickly leads to some stupendously large numbers.
It's certain that is someone says a sword is folded '500 times', they actually mean it has 500 layers. This means it is folded 10 times (giving 512 layers).
The very best swords might be folded 30 times, and this gives an incredible 1,073,741,824 (over 1 billion) layers.
The number of all atoms in the entire universe is something like 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000 (10 to the power 40).
If a sword really were folded 500 times, the layering would become meaningless. Each layer must be at least one atom thick (unless we get into nulcear folding - which I don't think even the best sword makers ever manged).
A sword folded 500 times would, if there were no physical limits, consist of this many layers:
327,339,060,789,614,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!
3rd February 2004, 05:26 PM