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About Website

                    The website you now behold is the culmination of several years of work on an impossible dream: A complete compendium on the infinite varieties of the finite, from their humblest beginnings all the way to some inconceivable apotheosis where all the numbers have some how been accounted for, self-contained and explaining everything from first principles! Such a volume would be the largest book ever written: it would necessarily have to be infinite! Sadly, my little piddling tome is not, but you would be hard pressed to find a more comprehensive, more focused, and frankly more overwrought, volume exclusively on large numbers anywhere. The "e-book" contained here in, a perpetual work in progress, now boasts over 1500 pages of content, the product of some 6 years of near constant devotion. You might say I haven't so much written the book as the book has enlisted me to write it!

                        The idea for the book was actually conceived many years before the website was founded while I was still in grade school. Mathematics has always fascinated me from my earliest school years. Perhaps one of the most enigmatic ideas in mathematics is the concept of infinity. I was both fascinated and perturbed by it as a child. The infinite for me was made quite tangible by the powerful realization that there could be no end to numbers or the problems that one could pose about them. I understood more over that this was not an issue of always being able to make more numbers, but rather that all the numbers, and every truth about them already existed, had always existed, would always exist, even if no one ever thought about them; although I didn't know it at the time I was a born platonist. But if this was true then the infinite didn't exist as a potential but as an actual collection of numbers and truths. The infinite therefore represented an all encompassing realm of mathematics in its entirety. I understood that we could only ever know a finite part of this whole. So there would be numbers never to be thought of, and math problems never to be posed. This idea was extremely intoxicating and so far removed from the intellectually dull and superficial task of adding small sums in class. I disdained my math class, but as for mathematics itself ... I was hooked.

                    Clearly infinity was a number, because it counted something: namely the numbers themselves (a subtle paradox in itself). But if infinity was a number, which number was it? For finite numbers, however large they might be, we can say definitively that if one began counting one would indeed be getting closer to that number with time, however pitiful that gain might be. But for infinity we may count and count and count and never be any closer to it than when we began. How then could infinity be a number if it was somehow equidistant from all numbers?!

                    I was so bothered by the conundrums of the infinite that one day I decided I had had enough. Instead of merely speculating about the impossibility of reaching the infinite, I was simply going to try, with all my might, to reach it once and for all! Furthermore I would create a great book about the journey to the infinite. It would begin with the small numbers ... 1,2,3, ... and then start discussing decimal notation, scientific notation, and from there the sky would be the limit! At the end of the book I would "reach" infinity and know once and for all it's "precise magnitude". So I began in earnest, grabbing some available scrap paper my dad had gotten from work, stapled it together, and titled my great work "One to Infinity". In this "book" I developed a special polygon notation for extremely large numbers and encountered for the first time in my life the concept of the transfinite ordinals which appeared to me to be a stairway to the heavens! Despite these revelations, and an attempt to convince myself that I had somehow sensed the grand design of the infinite through the constantly evolving structures of the ordinals, a lingering dissatisfaction remained. I had not reached the infinite. Instead I had simply become bogged down by the complexity of my own evolving notation, lost in a haze of truly enormous numbers. If only the veil could be lifted, if only clarity as to the patterns of the finite could be obtained, then the gates to the heavens would fly open and admit me to the realm of the infinite. So I made a deal with myself. I would rest my mind, give it time to absorb and process what I had learned, and then return once again to my futile climb towards the infinite.

                        Years past, and I have long since lost the stack of paper on which the original "One to Infinity" was written. But I never forgot the notation I had created, the numbers I had discovered and the strange and exotically vast vistas it made one privy to. Then one day in college it occurred to me to use the internet (something more or less non-existent when I had first explored large numbers) to find out if anyone else had ever contemplated such large numbers before. My naivete was soon made apparent when I learned that "large number notations" are something humanity has dabbled in, and even excelled at for as long as humans have had writing (refer to "Historical Precursors to Googology" for examples). Now having access of all this information for the first time I began doing independent research into large number notations in 2004. After some 4 years of study I had far surpassed my previous excursion into large numbers, inventing a new even more powerful notation that was based upon the work of Jonathan Bowers. It was around this time that I decided it was time to present my research to the world through the medium of the internet. To maintain the integrity of my work I decided I needed to build a personal website to accommodate it. Early on I decided that in order to organize the vast amounts of information I would be discussing about large numbers I would need to write it as if it were a book, an "e-book". It was then that I conceived of this "e-book" as the long awaited sequel to my original "One to Infinity", hence the subtitle "One to Infinity: A Guide to the Finite".

                    ... and here it is, perhaps one of the longest works of literature exclusively devoted to large numbers, on the internet or anywhere, and the closest thing yet to my absurd dream realized. Here you will be taken on a tour from the very beginnings of the number concept and then on to higher and higher levels of mathematical abstraction leading us into higher and higher realms of numbers. If you have never heard of googology before you are in for a real treat and a real mind-blow! Ready to blast off towards infinity in a frenzied pace like it's going out of style ...

                    Proceed to About Navigation to get an overview of how to navigate and use the website...