How many times can you fold a piece of paper? There’s a false idea that says you can’t fold a paper in half more than 8 times.
The truth is that if the paper is long enough and has enough energy, you can fold it as many times as you please. However, if you were to fold it 103 times, the thickness of your paper would be larger than the (observable) Universe.
Respectively, that’s 93 billion light-years! What? How can a paper be as large as the observable Universe? The answer lies in exponential growth which is the average paper thickness in 1/10th of a millimeter. When you perfectly fold paper in half, its thickness is instantly doubled.
But how thick is a piece of paper? It’s roughly 0.004 inches thick.
Ninety folds will make your paper 130.8 million light-years across, bigger than the Virgo Supercluster, estimated at 110 million light-years.
The Virgo Supercluster contains the Local Galactic Group—with Andromeda and our own Milky Way—and about 100 other galaxy groups. By 103 folds, you will get outside of the observable Universe, which is estimated at 93 billion light-years in diameters.
Folding a piece of paper
- Folding the paper in half a third time will get you about the thickness of a nail.
- Seven folds will be about the thickness of a notebook of 128 pages.
- Ten folds and the paper will be about the width of a hand.
- Twenty-three folds will get you to one kilometer—3,280 feet.
- Thirty folds will get you to space. Your paper will be now 100 kilometers high.
- Forty-two folds will get you to the Moon. With 51 you will burn in the Sun.
- At 81 folds and your paper will be 127,786 light-years, almost as thick as the Andromeda Galaxy, estimated at 141,000 light-years across.
And this was all possible because of math. It’s a wonderful thing.
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