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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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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?...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...