# Mathematics

When I was in school in the early 1940's, I am almost certain that I was taught that one million was one thousand multiplied by one thousand, and that one billion was one million multiplied by one million. Now it appears that one billion is now one million multiplied by ONE THOUSAND. Can anyone please tell me when the laws of mathematics were changed - and on who's authority? And please tell me if I am wrong!
09:07 Fri 11th May 2012

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 I think we have gone all american now 09:09 Fri 11th May 2012 Question Author Yes Andrew - But WHY? and on who's authority? 09:10 Fri 11th May 2012 It's an American billion, Sloggers .................... 1,000 x 1,000,000 I think it was picked up in the 60s or 70s. 09:10 Fri 11th May 2012 Simply, I guess, by the authority of "common usage", and compatibility. 09:12 Fri 11th May 2012 There's still confusion over this, and it's irresponsible of the media to blithely talk about billions without defining which figure they're talking about. Gets my goat. Grrr! 09:12 Fri 11th May 2012 The 10⁹ version (1,000,000,000) of a billion is I believe the US version and now seems to be the internationally accepted version. In fact I think this has been the case for at least years. When I was at school in the early 70s we were aware of two versions of a billion (10⁹ and the British 10¹²). I am not aware of anyone who now considers a billion to be 10¹² 09:13 Fri 11th May 2012 A number seems to have disappeared. It should have said: The 10⁹ version (1,000,000,000) of a billion is I believe the US version and now seems to be the internationally accepted version. In fact I think this has been the case for at least 30-40 years. When I was at school in the early 70s we were aware of two versions of a billion (10⁹ and the British 10¹²). I am not aware of anyone who now considers a billion to be 10¹² 09:14 Fri 11th May 2012 I think the American billion became standard back in about the early 70s - thinking back to the last time I heard the UK version used... so I don't think there's any confusion; a whole generation must have been brought up with it since then. I seem to have adapted to it, despite being grey-haired and feeble-minded. 09:20 Fri 11th May 2012 The way that things have altered over the years I am extremely surprised that Great Britain has not become the 51st state of the US, we have to more or less follow everything that happens state side, with successive governments it is a case that when they say jump we ask the question 'how high'. Ron. 09:21 Fri 11th May 2012 I would rather we became the 51st state of the US than an off-shore region of the EU. 09:23 Fri 11th May 2012 Mike, you are going to explain why that is aren't you? 09:24 Fri 11th May 2012 No. 09:27 Fri 11th May 2012 good! 09:29 Fri 11th May 2012 This is a grumpy old chestnut Long and short scales - the UK government changed in 1974 http://en.wikipedia.o...Long_and_short_scales 09:29 Fri 11th May 2012 By the way changing what you call something has absolutely nothing to do with the laws of mathematics. Mathematicians and scientists have other, universal ways of dealing with large numbers. Standard form is the most Common eg 3.6x10³³ 09:33 Fri 11th May 2012 I doubt the Americans would have us as a state but they might take us on as a colony like Puerto Rico, just for the karma. 09:45 Fri 11th May 2012 I thought the yanks had used us as a free airbase, got fed up after the cold war ended and beggared off to trouble johnny arab? 19:10 Fri 11th May 2012 All the answers are correct but it was not so much a case of slow adoption it was a decision by Denis Healey UK labour chancellor of the exchequer in 1975 to adopt the US billion. ie 1,000,000,000 (UK billion became the new trillion ie 1,000,000,000,000). This was not so important when the numbers were unthinkable amounts (except perhaps in science) but when GDP and debt began to get into the realms of this range it became important that the words were universal. 19:18 Sat 02nd Jun 2012

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