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Googol engine

March 2, 2020.

Daniel de Bruin.

© Daniel de Bruin.

To celebrate his one-billion-seconds anniversary, Daniel de Bruin, a Dutch designer, built a machine with 100 gears, each of which has a 10:1 reduction ratio. This means that the speed of any one gear is equal to one-tenth the speed of the gear before it. To rotate the 100th gear once, you would have to rotate the first gear 1 googol times. A googol is an astronomical number whose decimal representation is written with the number 1 followed by 100 zeros (or 10100). Also, you would need more energy than the entire known universe to do this. And even if you had enough energy in store, the mechanism would give up the ghost from the effort.

YouTube, “The universe's biggest gear reduction!.”

You can see the machine running for 1 hour in this very, very relaxing video:

YouTube, “See the worlds biggest gear reduction run for one hour!