Wolfram|Alpha search

Wolfram|Alpha search is a new specialized search engine that focuses on focuses on algorithmic answers for scientific knowledge.  It easily beats Google or any of the other general search tools in its specialized area.

Even so, it's harder than it looks.  Here's one example:

what is the age of the universe

Result: 13.7 billion years

how old is the universe

Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input

Looks like it still has a slight bias towards more precise terms like age vs old. It does seem to handle both "how big is …" and "what is the size of …".

On the other hand, this is quite impressive:

planck time * age of the universe

Result: 3.2 x 1060 planck times

But the following doesn't "work" quite as nicely:

planck length * size of the universe

Input interpretation: (planck length) X (diameter of observable universe)
Result: 1.6 x 10-40 planck times

Instead I have to search "planck length universe size" and then scroll down to "Ratios" section to see the answer I was looking for: 5.4 x 1061 planck lengths.  Still, not bad.

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