Celebrating my billionth - with a B!!

Yes, you read that right. Today, I celebrate my 1,000,000,000th!! My 1 billionth what, you ask? My 1 billionth second of being on this planet!

Humans are fantastically bad at comprehending large numbers. Our brains aren’t really equiped to deal with things on that scale; we are much better at grouping things and compartmentalizing.

As of today, I am 31 and 3/4 years old. This works out to approximately 1,000,000,000 seconds since I was born!

I have always enjoyed this exercise and providing a different perspective for large numbers that puts it into a context that is relatable.

For instance, let’s put 1,000,000 (million) into perspective. As I said, today I celebrate my 1,000,000,000th second of being alive at 31 and 3/4 years. It takes only about 11 and 1/2 days for 1 million seconds to pass.

On that same note, it would take over 31,700 years for 1,000,000,000,000 (trillion) seconds to pass!!!

Armed with this small exploration of large numbers, think about the sum of money being discussed when you hear about the U.S. national debt or various stimulus packages discussed in congress. The numbers are mind-blowing!

Another fun way to think about this is in terms of net-worth. For instance, Bill Gates’ net-worth in 2019 was approximately $110 billion. In other words, if you could liquidate all of Bill Gates’ assests, he could have paid me $110 every second I have been alive up to this point!

I hope this provides a fun excercise in large numbers for you, and puts things into some kind of perspective as you hear these astronomically-large numbers during your day-to-day activities!

Bradley M. Richardson, PhD
Bradley M. Richardson, PhD
Research Fish Biologist

My research interests include aquatic ecology, species interactions, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and freshwater fishes.

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