Archive Page - 08/16/13 41 years, 2,173 covers and 55,054 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- All About That Pac-Man Superbowl Commercial
- The Style Top 5: Sarah Jessica Parker Brings Her Shoe Line to Zappos, Katy Perry Preps for the Super Bowl and More
- Which Iconic Musician Would Alanis Morissette 'Follow into a Towering Inferno?'
- Amy Poehler Receives Hasty Pudding Award from Harvard
- Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Are Getting Married Next Weekend!
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Saturday January 31, 2015 09:10AM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- March 12, 1990
- Vol. 33
- No. 10
A Calculating Indiana Boy Proves That Ingenuity Counts
"They usually get up to a couple hundred and quit," says Randak of the generations of students crunched by the numbers. Randak issues the challenge as part of a classroom discussion on the age of the earth, estimated at 4.5 billion years. "The idea," says Randak, "is to make them realize big numbers are hard to comprehend." He estimates that it would take a student 200 days at eight hours a day to write down all the numbers.
At first, Hunter, the son of a doctor and a nursery school teacher, tried it the old-fashioned way—with a pencil. He got up to about 5,000. "My hand was cramping," he says, "so I trashed it." So Hunter adopted a different approach, one a little more modern. He sat down at his Commodore 64 computer and devised a program that would do the work for him. The printing, on an Okidata 120 printer, turned out to be the biggest part of the job. It took 140 hours to print out all the numbers on 2,400 pages, which weighed 50 pounds.
Then, one morning last December, Hunter had the satisfaction of walking into class and springing his printouts on a startled Randak. "My mouth fell open and I started laughing," says Randak, 44, whose other creative educational exercises include dressing up like Galileo for astronomy lectures and like scientist Gregor Mendel to talk about genetics. "I try to get kids' attention and teach them to think, which is what Charles did. He had the interest and creativity to figure it out and do it."
Since Hunter was, unsurprisingly, already an A student—and since the challenge technically was to write out the numbers—Randak compromised and awarded Hunter an extra half grade point on his final exam.
For Hunter, who hopes to become an aeronautics engineer, there was additional vindication. "My mom says it's the only thing I've ever completed," he says. "I've been trying to paint my room for two years."
January 31, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!