How Folding Paper Can Get You to the Moon

How Folding Paper Can Get You to the Moon

How many times can you
fold a piece of paper? Assume that one had a piece
of paper that was very fine, like the kind they typically
use to print the Bible. In reality, it seems like a piece of silk. To qualify these ideas, let’s say you have a paper that’s one-thousandth
of a centimeter in thickness. That is 10 to the power
of minus three centimeters, which equals .001 centimeters. Let’s also assume that you have
a big piece of paper, like a page out of the newspaper. Now we begin to fold it in half. How many times do you think
it could be folded like that? And another question: If you could fold the paper over and over,
as many times as you wish, say 30 times, what would you imagine
the thickness of the paper would be then? Before you move on, I encourage you to actually think
about a possible answer to this question. OK. After we have folded the paper once, it is now two thousandths
of a centimeter in thickness. If we fold it in half once again, the paper will become
four thousandths of a centimeter. With every fold we make,
the paper doubles in thickness. And if we continue to fold
it again and again, always in half, we would confront
the following situation after 10 folds. Two to the power of 10, meaning that you multiply
two by itself 10 times, is one thousand and
24 thousandths of a centimeter, which is a little bit over one centimeter. Assume we continue folding
the paper in half. What will happen then? If we fold it 17 times, we’ll get a thickness
of two to the power of 17, which is 131 centimeters, and that equals just over four feet. If we were able to fold it 25 times, then we would get two to the power of 25, which is 33,554 centimeters, just over 1,100 feet. That would make it almost
as tall as the Empire State Building. It’s worthwhile to stop here
and reflect for a moment. Folding a paper in half, even a paper
as fine as that of the Bible, 25 times would give us a paper
almost a quarter of a mile. What do we learn? This type of growth
is called exponential growth, and as you see, just by folding a paper we can go very far, but very fast too. Summarizing, if we fold a paper 25 times, the thickness is almost
a quarter of a mile. 30 times, the thickness reaches 6.5 miles, which is about the average
height that planes fly. 40 times, the thickness
is nearly 7,000 miles, or the average GPS satellite’s orbit. 48 times, the thickness
is way over one million miles. Now, if you think that the distance
between the Earth and the Moon is less than 250,000 miles, then starting with a piece of Bible paper and folding it 45 times,
we get to the Moon. And if we double it one more time, we get back to Earth.

100 thoughts on “How Folding Paper Can Get You to the Moon”

  1. My friend thinks it's a lie..😡😡 like come on… How can you get her to believe science?? I don't know how and she says nothing istaller that empire state building and there obviously taller things

  2. new challenge -> eat and never sh*t = how much will the one grow? if you dont sh*t 89 days you will grow 650 ft and that is where you can beat the champ

  3. i consider that the way of calculate thickness in this film is wrong. when the paper's hardness is enough to support upper half,it will have a height at the bend.

  4. But its not an accurate representation of the size of the paper, after just 7 folds it become very small. Folding it 46 times would make it MICROSCOPIC

  5. Can you imagine folding paper as thick as the distance moon to earth? Impossible. It would be like trying to fold a long cylinder – in the height direction.

  6. 1919 : Well have flying cars in 2019!

  7. Yes about teh height but wut bout the width and deh Lengqht?
    H: bigger
    W: smaller
    L: smaller
    The paper will be thicc bruh

  8. Actually this is wrong, you saw this from one perspective. Each time you fold the paper the horizontal space becomes less while vertical and thickness increase. Therefore if vertical increase by two then horizontal decrease by two. So by 45 folds you will probably reach atom level.

  9. except you can't..because reality doesn't work that way. That's the trouble with this kind of mathematics. it's only use is a fun paper joker.

  10. How to do this
    1. Get millions of sheets of paper
    2. Tape all of them together
    3. Start folding
    4. Run out of paper
    5. Get more taped paper
    6. Repeat

  11. In theory ur right but its basically impossible to fold it after 10 times. Unless it was a rlly big peice of paper

  12. If we keep folding the paper won’t it get smaller and smaller???
    And how would u be able to fold it when it gets so high and the force needed I imagine it would be too much to fold and also won’t the wind blow it over…

  13. wouldn't it gat smaller and smaller bc you're decreasing it by 1/2 so instead of being very tall it would disappear?

  14. By folding it you just get an increased length in the paper,then what about the width it is also decreasing the way length is increasing😬😬

  15. Well you’ll weaken paper on bend points .

    Fun fact : wet the paper … fold it with out damaging it up to ten times then let it dry

    Then laugh at everyone watch this …


  16. Has this guy had an expierence in physics or fields of engineering? The amount of force to fold the paper would also increase as you fold. Also the paper should become incredibly thin and brittle. Also the paper couldn't be folded like this because the force used to push it down would crush it on itself.

  17. Nd depending on how thick the paper is, if we fold the paper 103 times it’s a thick as the observable universe 🙃🙃

  18. they didn't think of this……… get ,like 2700000000000000 pieces of paper and fold it 4 times each.
    Then stack them on top of each other with glue and HEY!!!!!! WE GOTTA SPACE LADDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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