According to my usage statistics, of the people who come to scottaaronson.com via a search engine, about 5% do so by typing in one of the following queries:
biggest number in the world
the biggest number in the world
what is the largest number
largest number in the world
what is the biggest number
These people are then led to my big numbers essay, which presumably befuddles them even more.
So, let me satisfy the public’s curiosity once and for all: the biggest number in the world is a million billion gazillion. But stay tuned: even as I write, Space Shuttle astronauts are combing the galaxy for an even bigger number!