Tower of Brahma

One example of very large numbers is found in the story of Brahma’s Tower supposed to be set in a temple in the holy city of Varanasi. The tower consists of 64 discs of gold of decreasing sizes with hole in the middle of each disc. To begin with, there was a tower built by placing discs in descending order of size, one on top of another around a peg. There are two other similar pegs which were empty to begin with. The priests have to transfer the tower from one peg to another making sure that each time the disc on top is transferred on to another disc (around another peg) larger in size, until the whole tower is moved to a neighbouring peg. Estimate the time taken to do this job, assuming that one move takes one second. A great deal hinges on your solution; for once the job is completed it will be the end of the universe, till Brahma creates another!!

(Ref: Fun and Fundamentals of Mathematics by Jayant V Narlikar and Mangala Narlikar).

More later,

Nalin Pithwa

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