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Questions tagged [rational-numbers]

Questions about numbers expressible as the quotient of two integers. For questions on determining whether a number is rational, use the (rationality-testing) tag instead.

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Why do we still do symbolic math?

I just read that most practical problems (algebraic equations, differential equations) do not have a symbolic solution, but only a numerical one. Numerical computations, to my understanding, never ...
8k views

Division by $0$ and its restrictions

Consider the following expression: $$\frac{1}{2} \div \frac{4}{x}$$ Over here, one would state the restriction as $x \neq 0$, as that would result in division by $0$. But if we rearrange the ...
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Why can't calculus be done on the rational numbers?

I was once told that one must have a notion of the reals to take limits of functions. I don't see how this is true since it can be written for all functions from the rationals to the rationals, which ...
28k views

Why is $\frac{987654321}{123456789} = 8.0000000729?!$

Many years ago, I noticed that $987654321/123456789 = 8.0000000729\ldots$. I sent it in to Martin Gardner at Scientific American and he published it in his column!!! My life has gone downhill since ...
2k views

40k 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 ...
3k views

Test of being a rational number for $(1-\frac13+\frac15-\frac17+\cdots)/(1+\frac14+\frac19+\frac1{16}+\cdots)$

Is the following expression a rational number? $$\frac{1-\dfrac13+\dfrac15-\dfrac17+\cdots}{1+\dfrac14+\dfrac19+\dfrac1{16}+\cdots}$$ My thoughts: The sum and product of two rational numbers is a ...
2k views

Total distance traveled when visiting all rational numbers

My students found an old problem given in my school in 2007 (probably from a Honor Calculus class) and had been trying to solve for some time. Here is the problem: Prove or disprove: there exists a ...
25k views

Proof that every repeating decimal is rational

Wikipedia claims that every repeating decimal represents a rational number. According to the following definition, how can we prove that fact? Definition: A number is rational if it can be written ...
8k 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 ...
9k views

Is sin(x) necessarily irrational where x is rational?

My friend and I were discussing this and we couldn't figure out how to prove it one way or another. The only rational values I can figure out for $\sin(x)$ (or $\cos(x)$, etc...) come about when $x$ ...
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Axiomatic characterization of the rational numbers

We have the well-known Peano axioms for the natural numbers and the real numbers can be characterized by demanding them to be a Dedekind-complete, totally ordered field (or some variation of this). ...
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Solutions to $f'=f$ over the rationals

The problem is as follows: Let $f: \mathbb{Q} \to \mathbb{Q}$ and consider the differential equation $f' = f$, with the standard definition of differentiation. Do there exist any nontrivial solutions?...
6k views

Is the square root of -1 rational?

This is not a deep question, but if there is a definite answer then here is the place where I will find it. Is it justified to say that $i =\sqrt{-1}$ is rational? The origin of this question lies ...
665 views

Is $\frac{1}{11}+\frac{1}{111}+\frac{1}{1111}+\cdots$ an irrational number?

Obviously: $$\frac{1}{10}+\frac{1}{100}+\frac{1}{1000}+\cdots=0.1111\dots=\frac{1}{9}$$ is a rational number. Now, if we make terms with demoninators in the form: $$q_n=\sum_{k=0}^{n} 10^k$$ Then ...
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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 ...
7k 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 ...