The short [sic] answer is 10 to the 17th power. Or: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Austin Sendek (pictured above), a physics student that grew up in Northern California, was raised along side the popular slang expression, hella, which hails from the same region. The 20-year-old’s ever inquisitive mind, though, was challenged in a physics lab, one day, to quantifiy just exactly how much (of anything) hella refers to. The L.A. Times reports:

For Sendek, the idea sprang from a physics class. "I asked my lab partner how many volts were in this electric field and she said, offhandedly, ‘Oh, man — there’s hella volts,’ " he recalled. "It kind of clicked."

He’s started a Facebook petition to have the prefix hella adopted as an official quantity by the International des Poids et Mesures. He’s got 60,000 supporters on Facebook, and one big one outside of it: Google. A friend of Sendek’s told Google engineers about his whimsical campaign, and they decided to covertly hide the term in their online calculator. The weight of earth, 5.9736×1024 kg, for example is just a scant 5.97 hellagrams.

The outlook is grim for the term’s official adaptation.  A spokesman for the council said, "it will be received with smiles — but I doubt that it will go further!”  As Lloyd Christmas would say, though, "So, you’re sayin’ there’s a chance?!" 

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