Questions about numbers not expressible as the quotient of two integers. For questions on determining whether a number is irrational, use the (rationality-testing) tag instead.

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64
votes
4answers
8k views

Can an irrational number raised to an irrational power be rational?

Can an irrational number raised to an irrational power be rational? If it can be rational, how can one prove it?
44
votes
8answers
3k views

Designing an Irrational Numbers Wall Clock

A friend sent me a link to this item today, which is billed as an "Irrational Numbers Wall Clock." There is at least one possible mistake in it, as it is not known whether $\gamma$ is irrational. ...
40
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is $\varphi$ called “the most irrational number”?

I have heard $\varphi$ called the most irrational number. Numbers are either irrational or not though, one cannot be more "irrational" in the sense of a number that can not be represented as a ratio ...
36
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is it hard to prove whether $\pi+e$ is an irrational number?

From this list I came to know that it is hard to conclude $\pi+e$ is an irrational? Can somebody discuss with reference "Why this is hard ?" Is it still an open problem ? If yes it will be helpful ...
32
votes
2answers
1k views

Is this number transcendental?

My son was busily memorizing digits of $\pi$ when he asked if any power of $\pi$ was an integer. I told him: $\pi$ is transcendental, so no non-zero integer power can be an integer. After tiring of ...
31
votes
5answers
13k views

Proof that the irrational numbers are uncountable

Can someone point me to a proof that the set of irrational numbers is uncountable? I know how to show that the set $\mathbb{Q}$ of rational numbers is countable, but how would you show that the ...
31
votes
1answer
710 views

What is the role of mathematical intuition and common sense in questions of irrationality or transcendence of values of special functions?

I got the number $$\frac{\Gamma\left(\frac{1}{5}\right)\Gamma\left(\frac{4}{15}\right)}{\Gamma\left(\frac{1}{3}\right)\Gamma\left(\frac{2}{15}\right)}=0.824326275998351470388591998726842...$$ in the ...
29
votes
10answers
4k views

Rational + irrational = always irrational?

I had a little back and forth with my logic professor earlier today about proving a number is irrational. I proposed that 1 + an irrational number is always irrational, thus if I could prove that 1 + ...
29
votes
8answers
6k views

How are first digits of $\pi$ found?

Since Pi or $\pi$ is an irrational number, its digits do not repeat. And there is no way to actually find out the digits of $\pi$ ($\frac{22}{7}$ is just a rough estimate but it's not accurate). I am ...
29
votes
3answers
7k views

Can you raise a number to an irrational exponent?

The way that I was taught it in 8th grade algebra, a number raised to a fractional exponent, i.e. $a^\frac x y$ is equivalent to the denominatorth root of the number raised to the numerator, i.e. ...
26
votes
2answers
529 views

Linear independence of the numbers $\{1,e,e^2,e^3\}$

Does someone know a proof that $\{1,e,e^2,e^3\}$ is linearly independent over $\mathbb{Q}$? The proof should not use that $e$ is transcendental. $e:$ Euler's number. $\{1,e,e^2\}$ is linearly ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

Proving that $m+n\sqrt{2}$ is dense in R

I am having trouble proving the statement: Let $S = \{m + n\sqrt 2 : m, n \in\mathbb Z\}$. Prove for every $\epsilon > 0$, The intersection of $S$ and $(0, \epsilon)$ is nonempty.
23
votes
5answers
4k views

How do you calculate the decimal expansion of an irrational number?

Just curious, how do you calculate an irrational number? Take $\pi$ for example. Computers have calculated $\pi$ to the millionth digit and beyond. What formula/method do they use to figure this out? ...
23
votes
6answers
4k views

Why must we distinguish between rational and irrational numbers?

The difference between rational and irrational numbers is always stated as: rational numbers can be written as the ratio of two integers, and irrational numbers can't. However, why do mathematicians ...
23
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is $\pi$ irrational if it is represented as $c/d$?

$\pi$ can be represented as $C/D$, and $C/D$ is a fraction, and the definition of an irrational number is that it cannot be represented as a fraction. Then why is $\pi$ an irrational number?
23
votes
2answers
846 views

Is there any real number except 1 which is equal to its own irrationality measure?

Is there any real number except $1$ which is equal to its own irrationality measure? If so, then what is the cardinality of the set of all such numbers? Is the set dense on any interval? Is it ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Rational number to the power of irrational number = irrational number. True?

I suggested the following problem to my friend: prove that there exist irrational numbers $a$ and $b$ such that $a^b$ is rational. The problem seems to have been discussed in this question. Now, his ...
22
votes
6answers
18k views

Proving Irrationality

How is it possible to prove a number is irrational? First part of that question: How it possible to know that a number will go on infinitely? Second part: How is it possible to know that no ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a proof that $\pi \times e$ is irrational?

A little reading suggests: It is known that either $\pi + e$ or $\pi \times e$ is transcendental (or possibly both), but no proof is known that one of those two numbers in particular is ...
22
votes
2answers
307 views

Is there an elementary proof that $\sum_{n=1}^\infty {1\over n^s\{n\pi\}}<\infty$ for some $s>0$?

Edit: David Speyer's answer made me realize a couple of things and I would like to clarify. Sorry if the length of this is getting out of hand. First, it is now clear that no estimate can be obtained ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

Can every irrational number be written in terms of finitely many rational numbers?

Consider the irrational number $\sqrt{2}$. It can be written in terms, i.e., in a closed form expression, of two rational numbers as $2^{\frac{1}{2}}$. Does it hold in general that every irrational ...
21
votes
1answer
436 views

Irrationality of $\sum_{p\in\mathbb{P}} \frac{1}{2^{p}}$

Let $\mathbb{P}$ be the set of prime numbers, and consider $m=\displaystyle\sum_{p\in\mathbb{P}} \frac{1}{2^{p}}$. Is $m$ irrational? In the following paper, the author recalls several sufficient ...
20
votes
6answers
3k views

Prove that $\sqrt 2 +\sqrt 3$ is irrational. [duplicate]

Please prove that $\sqrt 2 + \sqrt 3$ is irrational. One of the proofs I've seen goes: If $\sqrt 2 +\sqrt 3$ is rational, then consider $(\sqrt 3 +\sqrt 2)(\sqrt 3 -\sqrt 2)=1$, which implies ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Uncountable set of irrational numbers closed under addition and multiplication?

Is such a thing even possible? There's not much to say really. Obviously if there was a set it would be full of transcendental numbers. This led me to think of a function generating transcendental ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the simplest way to prove that the logarithm of any prime is irrational?

What is the simplest way to prove that the logarithm of any prime is irrational? I can get very close with a simple argument: if $p \ne q$ and $\frac{\log{p}}{\log{q}} = \frac{a}{b}$, then because ...
20
votes
1answer
582 views

Any proof to $\pi^{e}$'s irrationality?

I've searched for this for a while but get nothing... There are plenty of proofs to irrationality of $e$,$\pi$,$e^{\pi}$. However, I can't find a proof for $\pi^e$. More, when searching for this I ...
19
votes
10answers
3k views

Critiques on proof showing $\sqrt{12}$ is irrational.

My only exposure to proofs was in a math logic class I took in University. I was wondering if my attempt at proving that $\sqrt{12}$ is irrational is OK. $$\Big(\frac{m}{n}\Big)^2 = 12$$ ...
19
votes
3answers
617 views

Does every sequence of rationals, whose sum is irrational, have a subsequence whose sum is rational

Assume we have a sequence of rational numbers $a=(a_n)$. Assume we have a summation function $S: \mathscr {L}^1 \mapsto \mathbb R, \ \ S(a)=\sum a_n$ ($\mathscr {L}^1$ is the sequence space whose sums ...
19
votes
1answer
414 views

Is the positive root of the equation $x^{x^x}=2$, $x=1.47668433…$ a transcendental number?

I can prove using the Gelfond–Schneider theorem that the positive root of the equation $x^{x^x}=2$, $x=1.47668433...$ is an irrational number. Is it possible to prove it is transcendental?
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Prove $x = \sqrt[100]{\sqrt{3} + \sqrt{2}} + \sqrt[100]{\sqrt{3} - \sqrt{2}}$ is irrational

Prove $x = \sqrt[100]{\sqrt{3} + \sqrt{2}} + \sqrt[100]{\sqrt{3} - \sqrt{2}}$ is irrational. I can prove that $x$ is irrational by showing that it's a root of a polynomial with integer coefficients ...
18
votes
0answers
379 views

If $\beta=0.{a_1}^{k}{a_2}^{k}{a_3}^{k}\cdots\in\mathbb Q$, then $\alpha=0.a_1a_2a_3\cdots\in\mathbb Q$?

Question : For every even $k\ge 4$, is the following $(\star)$ true? $$\begin{align}\text{If $\beta=0.{a_1}^{k}{a_2}^{k}{a_3}^{k}\cdots\in\mathbb Q$, then $\alpha=0.a_1a_2a_3\cdots\in\mathbb ...
17
votes
7answers
7k views

What rational numbers have rational square roots?

All rational numbers have the fraction form $$\frac a b,$$ where a and b are integers($b\neq0$). My question is: for what $a$ and $b$ does the fraction have rational square root? The simple answer ...
17
votes
2answers
821 views

Does $\sin(x)=y$ have a solution in $\mathbb{Q}$ beside $x=y=0$

Is there a way to show, that the only solution of $$\sin(x)=y$$ is $x=y=0$ with $x,y\in \mathbb{Q}$. I am seaching a way to prove it with the things you learn in linear algebra and analysis 1+2 ...
17
votes
3answers
236 views

Is $\sum\limits_{n=1}^\infty\frac1{a_n}$ irrational?

$\{a_n\}$ is a strictly increasing sequence of positive integers such that $$\lim_{n\to\infty}\frac{a_{n+1}}{ a_n}=+\infty$$ Can one conclude that $\sum\limits_{n=1}^\infty\frac1{a_n}$ is an ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

irrationality of $\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}}$.

The fact that there exists irrational number $a,b$ such that $a^b$ is rational is proved by the law of excluded middle, but I read somewhere that irrationality of $\sqrt{2}^{\sqrt{2}}$ is proved ...
17
votes
2answers
460 views

Which results depend on the irrationality of $\pi$?

Recently the following uninteresting clock picture was posted by one of my non-mathematically inclined friends to my facebook wall, saying that it was funny and possibly thinking that I would find it ...
17
votes
2answers
444 views

Irrationality of sum of two logarithms

I try to prove that the number $$\log_2 5 +\log_3 5$$ is irrational. But I have no idea how to do it. Any hints are welcome.
16
votes
10answers
3k views

Visualizing the square root of 2

A junior high school student I am tutoring asked me a question that stumped me - I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on it here. We were talking about how the square root of 2 is an ...
16
votes
2answers
627 views

How come such different methods result in the same number, $e$?

I guess the proof of the identity $$ \sum_{n = 0}^{\infty} \frac{1}{n!} \equiv \lim_{x \to \infty} \left(1 + \frac{1}{x}\right)^x $$ explains the connection between such different calculations. How ...
16
votes
2answers
459 views

What is the value of $\sum\limits_{i=1}^\infty\frac{1}{p_{p_i}}$ where $p_{i}$ is the $i$th prime?

What is the value of $\sum\limits_{i=1}^\infty\dfrac{1}{p_{p_i}}$ where $p_n$ is the nth prime (and so $p_{p_n}$ is the $k$th prime, where $k$ is the $n$th prime) ? Thus ...
15
votes
4answers
7k views

Is there a rational number between any two irrationals?

Suppose $i_1$ and $i_2$ are distinct irrational numbers with $i_1 < i_2$. Is it necessarily the case that there is a rational number $r$ in the interval $[i_1, i_2]$? How would you construct such ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

ArcTan(2) a rational multiple of $\pi$?

Consider a $2 \times 1$ rectangle split by a diagonal. Then the two angles at a corner are ArcTan(2) and ArcTan(1/2), which are about $63.4^\circ$ and $26.6^\circ$. Of course the sum of these angles ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a proof that $\pi$ is an irrational number?

Most math texts claim that $\pi$ is an irrational number. However, I'm having a little bit of trouble understanding that. Since nobody has calculated all of the digits of $\pi$, how can we know that ...
15
votes
1answer
322 views

Can we prove that the solutions of $\int_0^y \sin(\sin(x)) dx =1$ are irrational?

Can we prove that the solutions of $$\int_0^y \sin(\sin(x)) dx =1$$ are irrational? Wolfram Alpha gives two approximate sets of solutions as $\{4.58+2\pi k|k\in\mathbb{Z}\}$ and $\{1.69+2\pi ...
15
votes
0answers
493 views

Irrationality of e

I have a question about the irrationality of $e$: In proving the irrationality of $e$, one can prove the irrationality of $e^{-1}$ by using the series $$e^x = 1+x+\frac{x^2}{2!} + \cdots + ...
14
votes
3answers
533 views

Is there a simple proof that $e^2$ is irrational using a positional numeral system?

My favorite proof that $e$ is irrational goes something like this. Observe that we can write any real number $r$ as $$ a \,+\, \frac{b_2}{2} \,+\, \frac{b_3}{3!} \,+\, \frac{b_4}{4!} \,+\, ...
14
votes
1answer
151 views

How to prove that the problem cannot be solved by the four Arithmetic Operations?

The original prolbem is as in the figure: Suppose the square has unit side length, find the area of blue region. The exact solution is: $$\begin{aligned}S=&\frac{\pi-\sqrt{7}}{4}+2 ...
14
votes
3answers
562 views

Irrationality of $\pi$ another proof

Proposition. Let $\alpha\in\mathbb{R}$. If there is a sequence of integers $a_n,b_n$ such that $0<|b_n\alpha-a_n|\longrightarrow 0^+$ as $n\longrightarrow \infty$, then $\alpha$ is irrational. ...
13
votes
4answers
716 views

Prove that e is irrational

Prove that e is an irrational number. Recall that e $=\displaystyle\sum_{n=0}^\infty\frac{1}{n!},\,\,$ and assume $\mathrm{e}$ is rational. Then $$\sum\limits_{k=0}^\infty \frac{1}{k!} = ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Irrationality proofs not by contradiction

Per now, I have basically come upon proofs of the irrationality of $\sqrt{2}$ (and so on) and the proof of the irrationality of $e$. However, both proofs were by contradiction. When thinking about ...