A Clever Way to Estimate Enormous Numbers
About this video
In this playful TEDEd animation, mathematician Michael Mitchell explains how powers of ten can be used to provide quick and accurate estimations from limited data. Where precise measurements and values are not needed the ability to use powers of ten to make accurate estimations is vital, particularly within mathematics and science.
Mitchell also demonstrates that more often than not, these estimations provide values that are not far from the true figure, with over estimations balancing out under estimations. For example Mitchell estimates the number of piano tuners in Chicago without even knowing the city's population.
You can learn more about mathematical concepts in Christopher Zeeman's Christmas Lecture series 'Mathetmatics into Pictures'.