**RSG:** I’m interviewing Professor Karlheinz von Phulstrup of Harvard University’s Department Of Abstract Mathematics. Doctor von Phulstrup has dedicated his life to the study of integers and recently announced a large breakthrough. Doctor, can you quickly remind our readers what an ”integer” is?

**KvP:** I’d rather not.

**RSG: **OK. Well, as I recall, an integer is a number like 1, 7, or 272. A numeral that has no digits to the right of the decimal point.

**KvP:** No decimal. That’s the point.

**RSG:** Heh, heh, nice one. I see what you did there. Now can you describe your discovery in a way the layman can understand?

**KvP: **Probably not.

**RSG: **Come on, Professor. This is Harvard. Give it the old college try.

**KvP ***(sighs):* An integer is a whole number. That don’t mean it’s got a hole in it. It ain’t a donut, it’s a number. An integer don’t have any fractional parts. Not like a donut that you took a bite out. Fractional parts are those little twiddly bits to the right of the decimal. They called rational numbers, but I never seen it that way. I prefer integers because they well behaved.

**RSG: **Not like “Pi?” Pi goes on forever, right?

**KvP: **Not if it’s Apple Pie – that goes right down the pie hole.

**RSG:** Heh, heh. That’s a good one.

**KvP: ** PI’s irrational. Completely meshugah. Listen: 3.14159--

**RSG:** Yes. The area of a circle is Pi r-squared, right?

**KvP:** Not the kind I eat. Here’s some more digits for you: 265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510—

**RSG: **Impressive, yes, Pi goes on forever. I learned that on Star Trek.

**KvP** *(increasingly animated): *I got a million of them! I could throw Pi in your face! … 582097494459230781640628620899862803482534—

**RSG:** Delicious. But seriously, that’s probably enough for now.

**KvP: **What? I’m just getting started … 21170—

**RSG:** That’s quite enough, thank you! Now, as I understand it, you have discovered the largest integer ever.

**KvP****:** Could be. I think I have. Yes, that was me. You see, I just take the number Pi out to infinite digits and then remove the decimal point. That makes the biggest integer and snags me a Nobel Prize!

**RSG:** Erase the decimal from a number with infinite digits? It can’t be that easy, Doctor.

**KvP****:** Easy? Who are you, my father? Of course, it looks easy when you aren’t the one whose noggin did all the thinking! My father insisted I become a doctor, but he never said what kind. I could have gone to Wall Street, you know. 679—

**RSG:** Professor, I mean no disrespect, but couldn’t I just add any other integer to your number and get a bigger integer? There’s really no such thing as the world’s biggest integer.

**KvP****:** Who we got here, Groucho Marx or something? Did my father send you? Interview over! Out! Out of my office!

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