If you have an expression like 1/3, that can't be accurately represented in base 10. It would look like 0.3333333.... However, it can be represented in base 3 as 0.1. Is there a way to mathematically find a base that can accurately represent the results of a given expression?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You mean any rational number? Then yes, there is some base in which that number has a finite expansion. This is not the case for an irrational number (because if there were such a finite expansion in some base, then the number would be rational.) $\endgroup$ – Simon S Apr 7 '15 at 21:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if there always is a way. What if the number is not rational. I do find it interesting though that if $x = \frac{1}{3} = 0.33333....$ then $10x = 3.3333....$ so $10x-x=3 => 9x = 3 => x = \frac{1}{3} $ so the base $10$ can be used in some way but that also only applies to recurring decimals $\endgroup$ – StephanCasey Apr 7 '15 at 21:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.