Questions tagged [numbers]

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Were 3-dimensional split-complex numbers ever described in literature?

Basically, if you add two complex dimensions to reals, say $i$ and $j$, you automatically get a fourth dimension $ij$ because this number cannot be expressed using only the three dimensions. The ...
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Origin of Catalan numbers and original intuition of the first interpretation and proofs

I was reading about Catalan numbers and how they provide the number count in a variety of situations. I found it very interesting how the main proof is about the underlying common patterns and ...
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Are there examples of mathematical systems that reflect the worldview of the culture they are from?

By this I mean, are there systems of numbers, counting, sorting.. or even higher level mathematical concepts that reflect a culture's worldview? Did some cultures not develop certain math concepts ...
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What was the difference between Number and Magnitude in Ancient Greece [duplicate]

I've been reading Infinite Powers by Steven Strogatz and in it, he writes about how the greeks differentiated between numbers as being discrete and magnitudes as being continuous. However, all of ...
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Historical origin of commas and periods in numbers

I have heard that in English when we write a decimal number, then we use a period, like 1.111. When we write large numbers, then we use a comma, like 1,111. Sometimes we use spaces for large numbers, ...
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Why do South Asians often use "lakhs" and "crores" instead of "millions"? What is the historical origin of this system?

I noticed that South Asians often write 10,00,000 instead of 1,000,000. My questions are: What is the origin of this special numbering system? Was there a more practical reason for having a special ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Was there ever a word for 24 like "dozen" for 12? [closed]

The English language has more than one word for 12 (twelve, dozen) and 12^2 (one hundred and forty-four, gross), but has there ever been a word for 2*12 other than twenty-four? I would also be ...
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Has any culture in history ever not invented digits, and just used letters?

We have characters for letters and numbers. We typically view them as a discrete sets. Has any culture ever mangled the two? To some degree it seems almost logical if your letters are already ...
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When did the word "Real number" begin to be used as an official terminology to refer to both rational and irrational numbers?

I am really curious about and struggling with finding when the word "Real number" began to be used as an official terminology to refer to both rational and irrational numbers. In Wiki, it ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Why did the romans use IV and why doesn't it overcomplicate things?

Ok so if the Romans did not use things like IX and IV and XC etcetera then addition and subtraction would be almost as instant as it is in our number system. However with the new system it seems to me ...
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Did anyone ever propose a hypercomplex numbers system with more than one anisotropic axis?

The real number axis is asymmetric against zero: for instance, multiplication of two negative or two positive numbers will produce a positive number, a square root of a negative number is not real, ...
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Who is the Dottie number named after?

I have learned about the Dottie number, though I am unsure to whom it is attributed to and why it is named as so.
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Who invented the first pronunciation system for binary numbers that is roughly analogous to how we pronounce everyday decimal numbers?

Who invented the first pronunciation system for binary numbers that is roughly analogous to how we pronounce everyday decimal numbers (by which I mean how 220 is pronounced 'two hundred twenty')? ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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Why are quaternions more popular than tessarines despite being non-commutative?

Is this simply because of marketing, hype, etc? The bicomplex numbers (especially tessarines) look just great being commutative and all. Images source:https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?...
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What is the origin of Arabic numerals

I was taught that the numerals {0,1,2,...,9} are from the Arab alphabet. But they look completely different from today's Arab letters. I wonder what is the origin of Arabic numerals? Edit: The web ...
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Was the concept of zero ever developed without relation to positional number systems?

It is well known that positional numeral systems are not possible without the concept of zero and corresponding notation. This is the necessary condition, but not sufficient one. My question is: ...
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