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How many books are there in the library?

As a young scientist, there is something you can do when you want to know how many things there are somewhere. Let's take your question as an example. It would take you a long time to count all of the books on the shelves. On way that a scientist would get an approximate answer is to count how many shelves there are, and then count how many books are on one shelf.

By looking around the library you could find a typical or average looking shelf to do your exact count. Then you would multiply the number of books you found on that shelf by the number of shelves that have books. This should give you an answer pretty close to what the librarian gave us.

Try this with other things like how many leaves are on a tree. Count how many branches there are and then how many leaves are on one branch. Actually, you could just count how many branches are on half of the tree and multiply that by two. Scientists are smart but sometimes they're a bit lazy too. If you're smart you can afford to be lazy.