Questions tagged [mathematics]

For questions about mathematics, including our own system of mathematics and alien versions of mathematics, focusing on their effects on societies and civilizations.

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5
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0answers
54 views

Inside an o'Neill cylinder, would a Pendulum's swing have any notable characteristics? [migrated]

Objects inside an O'Neill Cylinder would feel the Centrifugal effect, given by: $F=mω^2r$, and the Coriolis effect, given by: $F=d(mv)/dt$, as well as air friction from air under the same effects. At ...
2
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2answers
71 views

Inside an o'Neill cylinder, would an enclosed room feel the same "gravity" as an open space?

I know that the "gravity" in an O'Neill Cylinder is from Centrifugal effect. Calculated by: F=mω^2r F is centrifugal Force m is the Mass ω is the Angular velocity r is the distance from ...
2
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3answers
287 views

How might other civilizations discover irrational numbers

The first number shown to be irrational in our world was supposedly the square root of 2. I know that the irrationality of π is likely out of reach for a civilization that hasn’t discovered ...
39
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10answers
5k views

Could an underground civilisation deduce the size and shape of their planet?

Not sure if this still falls under worldbuilding. Let's assume a civilization living with the following restrictions: No access to the surface or ability to observe it (no sky, no atmospheric samples ...
0
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6answers
259 views

Winning the game of life

all lifeforms alive today want to live and reproduce as much as possible, because those with differing ideas are extinct or about to be. Clearly the meaning of life is nothing else but to keep your ...
2
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2answers
275 views

Is there a mathematical way to calculate the density, volume, etc of a planet just using mass as data?

while I was working on the language I was thinking about the planet and I don't have the mathematical data, I have a fairly done map but not the data and it would be interesting to add it. As data I ...
6
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1answer
162 views

How to estimate the price of an animal in a fantasy setting, or why does a duck cost more then a chicken? [closed]

I realise now that this is not the right place to ask this question, but for anyone else who happens to stop by and is looking for a good reference to use to price their animals, I've found a resource ...
7
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7answers
378 views

How long would a grey goo scenario take to finish coating an earth sized planet?

Okay, so the idea is that humans have found a method to terraform planets by way of an intentionally engineered grey goo scenario. The bots would be used to photosynthesize a sustainable atmosphere by ...
2
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1answer
102 views

Space station stable population

An isolated space station that has 18 lab grown babies every day. The average lifespan is 120 years. What is the total size of the population for the birth death rate ratio to be even? Im having a ...
7
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11answers
5k views

How can Empire A convince Empire B that it has a planet-destroying weapon without helping Empire B to recreate it?

By almost pure luck the wizards/scientists of Empire A made a gigantic breakthrough that allowed them to create a weapon able to destroy the world, i.e. the one and the only planet on which Empire A ...
2
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1answer
179 views

Math on another planet [closed]

Mathematicians constantly create new axiom systems, and there are different concepts of information. My view is that mathematics gets where I am because mathematicians invented notations to write down ...
5
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2answers
222 views

Estimating thrust and kg fuel for a generation ship's journey to Alpha Centauri

Premise: A generation spaceship leaves Earth around the year 2060 on a journey to colonize Alpha Centauri A (ACA). In this fiction, fusion power is achieved in 2040, improved over 20 years, and used ...
1
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3answers
134 views

How Would Mathematics and Technology evolve in a world where people can teleport [closed]

I've already talked about this world in this How would criminals be punished in a world where everyone can teleport? Everyone in this world from the age of 5 can teleport to anywhere they have been ...
1
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1answer
100 views

What is the smallest size this black hole ship could be without killing the passengers via g-force?

Context: I'm trying to design a massive colony ship (as in, at least 3 billion tonnes unfueled), built by a hyper-advanced K2 civilization, that will be accelerated via laser pushers and will use a ...
2
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1answer
131 views

Spontaneous linguistic evolution [closed]

I'm working on some world building, and I am making a conlang for this world. It's intended to be a slightly futuristic language, but with no influence from any existing language (in world) that ...
26
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7answers
4k views

Why would my Dwarves decide that the Platonic solids are divine?

My Idea I’ve decided that my Dwarves are the foremost experts on matters mathematical and geometrical. Further, they believe that numbers are the key to unlocking the “secrets of the gods.” One idea I ...
3
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1answer
115 views

How Much Solar Wind Does A Star Produce?

I need someone to give me a way to figure out how fast the solar wind from a star with a known mass travels, as well as how much solar wind the star releases in a given amount of time. I hope that it ...
6
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4answers
419 views

How feasible is it that aliens would use a number field other than the standard real numbers?

I will begin this with a disclaimer that I barely understand the p-adic analysis beyond very general ideas of what the p-adic numbers are and how they are constructed. But this is a question I've been ...
8
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2answers
303 views

Using transfinite numbers in a scifi story

I have been bandying about some exotic mathematics ideas as the basis for a hard scifi setting, and I wonder what technology/alien life would "make sense," here, given the physics arising ...
4
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2answers
202 views

In what sense is the physical world effectively described by mathematics?

I'm not sure whether this belongs here or in the Physics SE - please let me know if I'm mistaken! After reading Wigner's article on "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural ...
3
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3answers
110 views

How far can a society advance technologically without learning to count?

Inspired by Can there be democracy in a society that cannot count?, how advanced could that society get technologically without learning to count? What important innovation on a hypothetical tech tree ...
2
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1answer
150 views

How many children can a society of 250-300 people produce in a year?

Basically, my world's societies (They're tiny-sized for reasons too complicated to explain in a simple post) are forced to provide about 1 human sacrifice every month (Because reasons) and to fight ...
4
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1answer
971 views

Werewolf Size Calculation

Hypothetically if a human were to turn into a wolf, their legs would stay the same length, if not appearing slightly shorter due to the bending of digitigrade legs, but how big would a wolf be if it ...
5
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1answer
749 views

How fast do you have to be to punch through a steel door?

Assuming the person is durable enough to not break his hand, how fast would he have to move his fist to punch completely through a solid steel door that is 1 inch thick?
5
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1answer
240 views

How to Determine Planetary Extremes of Temperature from Average Global Temperature?

I have determined the average global temperature of my world based on the luminosity of the star, distance to the star, and the bond albedo and greenhouse factor of the world. What I'm having a devil ...
6
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11answers
2k views

Bidimensional thinking

Is there a way of more advanced minds start to count with complex integers, instead of naturals? This way such a society would never think of $2$ as prime since $2=(1+i)(1-i)$. Notice that more ...
0
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1answer
110 views

How Long (Or Short) Would Human Limbs Be if Proportioned Like Those of Gibbons?

Here is what I've got on Reddit about how long human limbs are in proportion to the lengths of their bodies: With regard to humans, in ideal proportions, an adult is 7.5-8 heads tall. The legs (...
5
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2answers
804 views

A three-day carriage ride, how long would other methods take?

If my carriage can cover about 28 miles in an 8 hour day of travel because the roads are in very good conditions, how fast could someone on horseback take? How about someone walking? Would the speed ...
11
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8answers
3k views

Would beings with a base 8 number system be advantaged for electronics?

I am looking forward to create anthropomorphic dragons/lizards with 8 fingers (3 + thumb). As they base their number system on it, the powers of 2 are recurrent. Would this grant any advantage for the ...
1
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1answer
86 views

How big would the "Eclipse Region" of the given planet be?

In the project I am currently working on, I am making a world in a binary orbit with another similarly-sized planet. The two planets, which I have so far been referring to as Artemis and Apollo (...
3
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1answer
139 views

Proving the existence of a reality-warping supercomputer [closed]

We use formulas to help us understand the "laws" that govern us and our universe. Say that suddenly, unbeknownst to us, a supercomputer was introduced to our Earth that was capable of casting a mass ...
2
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2answers
147 views

Entropy, enthalpy, and energy through rapid mitosis

So I'm pretty new to chemistry and all this, but my world involves superpowers, which of course involves immense energy to have the characters use these powers. However, I want to stay consistent with ...
2
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1answer
156 views

Specific gravity change for my world

Ok, so this is a culmination of a few questions into one final question: am I doing this right? I am trying to figure out the gravitational difference from one end of a continent to another. There is ...
15
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8answers
6k views

How much volume does a liquefied human take?

A group of aliens are off to save the human race from extinction caused by a Lovecraftian monstrosity. In order to accomplish this feat, they go to Earth in order to harvest as many humans as ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

Can cherenkov effect be used for telling how fast FTL spaceship moves?

Imagine an alternate universe where FTL do happens, let's just say the inhabitants discovered a hypothetical particles that allows ordinary matter to temporarily be in superposition of any amount of ...
10
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3answers
461 views

Procedurally generating a galaxy's worth of names

Background I am investigating the practical utility and limitations of a procedural-generation-based naming scheme for stars and other notable or significant interstellar structures (e.g. nebulae, ...
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4answers
193 views

How can early people prove that their planet is a cuboid?

Imagine a cuboid planet with a thick atmosphere orbiting a star similar to our Sun. The inhabitants are as intelligent as humans and recently discovered the universal laws of gravitation and motion ...
3
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2answers
346 views

How can a race incapable of conceiving discrete quantities evolve?

Shamelessly inspired by this question, where a race was capable of counting only 0, 1 and ‘many’, I have designed a yet more extreme race!! The Continuuoids are a pretty complex race. They can solve ...
18
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6answers
6k views

How can sapient beings engineer transportation and building when they can only count 0, 1 and many?

Imagine a species of humanoid beings living on an Earth-like planet somewhere in the universe; they have developed complex spoken and written languages and they can study their own anatomy and the ...
2
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3answers
225 views

How would roads and buildings be constructed if universe does not allow parallel lines? [closed]

Imagine we are living in a parallel universe where the parallel lines can only exists as imaginary lines just not in the real physical world, how would road and skyscrapers work in such a universe?
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8answers
9k views

Would you notice, visually, if the planet you were on was vastly larger than Earth?

By that I mean, if you are travelling about on a continent on a planet with a circumference similar to the Sun, how much further would you be able to see, and would it be noticeable, without more ...
5
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3answers
192 views

Maximum Size Limit for a Wooden-and-Bamboo Neo-Ziggurat

There is a concern that's been brought up only recently--steel and concrete buildings are environmentally wasteful. In further clarification, they waste away too much greenhouse gases. And ...
19
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11answers
5k views

Tactical illusion combat countermeasures (password system)

I'm directing a small team of highly skilled, intelligent operatives to raid a top secret research facility. Unfortunately, our reconnaissance has revealed that not only is this secure facility ...
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3answers
173 views

What could an algorithm for fast prime factorization look like? [closed]

For hundreds of years mathematicians have been looking for a method to quickly factorize a natural number. For example: 3894757 = 877*4441 Today there's no way ...
0
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0answers
78 views

Can fundamental maths be different in another world? [duplicate]

Mathematics is the language of sciences. Can the fundamentals be different in another world/universe? A few things I'm pretty sure are fundamental don't change: $1 + 1 = 2$ $\pi = \frac{...
38
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10answers
14k views

Is there any math conjecture that would cause a lot of damage if disproven?

As a plot device I need some kind of conjecture that is used in lot proofs and widely assumed true. Something like many papers in computer science start with "Assuming P != NP ...". In my story for ...
-2
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3answers
138 views

Could a stone age civilization independently figure out about quantum mechanics [closed]

I was thinking of a stone age civilization that figures out how to use Quantum Mechanics. This civilization figures out some of the equations that describe Quantum Mechanics, and comes up with first ...
45
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9answers
12k views

Famous conjecture or unsolved problem that could be plausibly proven/solved by freshman mathematician?

Is there any conjecture or famous unsolved problem, that doesn't require much prerequisite knowledge and could be plausibly proven / solved by freshman? My hero is average freshman in mathematics, ...
4
votes
1answer
189 views

Days and Seasons via Daily Eclipses in a Flat World

While working on the cosmos of a flat world, I came upon the idea of using a dim sum rotating about an axis through the central pole (as described here) in order to accomplish days and seasons. The ...
36
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20answers
12k views

Are there any mathematics that could only be learned by very few people?

I'm worldbuilding a situation where new drug increases IQ when given to preschool children. Unfortunately only 1% of the recipients get the benefits, the rest risk their development being stunted. As ...