Whaaaat? It’s just a matter of math, really. Fold an A4 once and it will be twice as thick, wrinkles it again and also it will certainly be four times as thick as it at first was. Turns out, according toDr knife Kruszelnicki, if you carry out this 103 times the sheet’s thicknesswill be bigger than the observable Universe: 93 billion light-years. To perform this, however, requires an exponential rise of the necessary power to wrinkles the paper, i beg your pardon wasn’t computed.

You are watching: If you fold a piece of paper 42 times

The current record because that the mosttimes a traditional A4 has been urgent in fifty percent is twelve, and also was set byBritney Gallivan more than 10 years back when she was only a high college student. What’s interesting is the mathematicians at the moment thought the was impossible to fold it an ext than 7 times using input human being input energy, i.e. Her hands. Britney wasn’t person who is abnormal strong, however, but she was really clever around it.

The an initial thing she did was to identify the challenge’s limitations. Shethen obtained the folding limit equation for any given dimension and also foundsingle direction folding requires less paper. One interesting exploration was come fold record an extr time about 4 times as much record is needed, contradictory to the intuition of numerous that just twice as much record would it is in needed because it is double as thick. In at some point Britney was the an initial person to set the record for folding file in fifty percent 9, 10, 11 or 12 times.

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The urgently limiting equation Britney found: together is the minimum possible length that the material, t is material thickness, and n is the variety of folds feasible in one direction.

With each fold, more and much more energy needs to it is in inputted.A record folded in half 10 times will result in thickness around the broad of your hand, however if it’s urgent 20 times will certainly be 10 kilometres high, which makes it greater than mountain Everest. Let’s wrinkles it a bit more; 42 times will get you ~ above the moon and, as Dr. Kruszelnicki demonstrated on abc Science, 103 times will certainly render a thickness the dimension of the known Universe!

It’s a very basic calculation, but it shows simply how an effective math have the right to be.

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Tibi Puiu

Tibi is a scientific research journalist and co-founder the ZME Science. He writes mainly around emerging tech, physics, climate, and space. In his preventive time, Tibi likes to make weird music ~ above his computer and groom felines.