Laws of
Astronomical Earth Life
The ARK Virtual Museum
Give enough monkeys enough time...
Looking at the Odds!
It has been said frequently that if we: Give enough monkeys enough time and they will eventually type out the Encyclopaedia Britannica--

Could they really do it in the real world? That is the real issue.

Let's do a simple example of the odds of just the phrase
encyclopaedia britannica
(24 keystrokes). We'll use a simple typewriter with only the keys:
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz 1234567890-=\;',./
No upper case or special keys. Just 45 keys available.

The probability of "e" in space 1 = 1/45. That one key could be pressed of the 45 available.
The probability of "en" in spaces 1&2 = 1/45 * 1/45 ...
The probability of "encyclopaedia britannica" in all spaces is = 1/45 * 1/45 * ... (for 24 multiples)
The probability of everything right = 1/1039. That's 39 zeroes after the one using just one monkey.

Therefore, for even odds of getting it right once, one monkey will need 1039 attempts.

How many monkeys do you need if each one tries one time per second for the entire assumed age of the Universe?

Assumed evolutionary age of the universe:

  • 1010 years (100,000,000,000 years or 100 billion years)
  • 107 seconds per year
  • 1010 * 107 = 1017 seconds
    Therefore the number of monkeys required is: 1039 / 1017 = 1022 monkeys. That's more monkeys than there is earth to hold them for only two words!

    There is not enough monkeys, time, typewriter repair monkeys (men?), or physical earth to hold them or feed them, etc. It can't be done!

    Want to see more? See Search for Truth on Not Enough Monkeys in the Universe

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