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
votes
1answer
82 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 ...
7
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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 ...
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0answers
48 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
434 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
73 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
93 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
112 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
150 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 ...
14
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8answers
5k 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
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1answer
87 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 ...
9
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2answers
257 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
166 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
273 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 ...
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6answers
5k 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
194 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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7answers
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
171 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 ...
-6
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3answers
136 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 ...
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0answers
76 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 ...
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3answers
129 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
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1answer
154 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 ...
31
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18answers
11k 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 ...
19
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4answers
4k views

What kind of mathematical disciplines would be most useful for physics?

I'm worldbuilding a story, where a famous string theorist hires a student of mathematics to try construct a new theory. For better drama, my premise of the story is that the student never learned more ...
23
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18answers
3k views

Search for something difficult to count/estimate

In one of the stories I'm designing, in Middle Age time, the main character, Mr. P, is a good mathematician serving the King and other lords in different works (army numbers and suppliers counts, ...
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1answer
152 views

This is going to sound insane but… can we eliminate numbers+arithmetic from math? [closed]

This is going to sound insane but... would it not be nice, if there was no need for numbers (except for counting like in subscripts)? Mathematicians talk about eliminating the Axiom of Choice, because ...
5
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9answers
468 views

How can I create an infinite space bound by another infinite space (or contained within it)?

First let me preface by saying this question will be very math heavy, and might be as equally suited to math stack exchange as world building. For that I apologize, but since the reason for my ...
0
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1answer
86 views

Could a city of balloons provide its own static electricity? [closed]

In the question: Could a city be built out of Balloons? it asks whether such a city could exist. I would like to know how much electricity (static electricity) could be gathered from the balloons ...
8
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5answers
534 views

Velocity Difference From Teleportation

In Steven Gould's Jumper series, the main character has the ability to teleport, and he eventually realizes he automatically does frame matching when doing so - no matter where on earth his origin and ...
3
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7answers
315 views

How could someone calculate all potential outcomes of an action?

In my universe, some individuals possess the capacity to assess all outcomes for an action. As you can imagine, this is very useful. The only way I can think of a plausible way to make that happen is ...
8
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1answer
365 views

Mathematics of monsters

Researching for a science fiction novel. My character loves math + I have dyscalculia = Problem. Therefore, I need your help. In my story, there are aliens we can see, but we can't hear or touch. ...
1
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2answers
164 views

Could university accept a child without any formal education? [closed]

My story revolves about a life of a girl that is profoundly gifted even among a family of profoundly gifted. Her father founded a multi-billion dollar company focused on IT security and cryptography ...
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11answers
342 views

The Emperor bans the number seven on pain of death. Does this inevitably disrupt a medieval society? (trade and commerce) [closed]

The medieval Emperor is up to his tricks again. He has decided that the number seven is unlucky. Despite advice from his courtiers that it can't be done, he bans its use on penalty of death by any of ...
2
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2answers
165 views

What would be the mathematical formula to figure out a person's weight on a world bigger or smaller than Earth?

Okay, trying to figure out this math guys! This may be simple math to some of you, but not me!!! I googled various ways of asking this question and got some good results, but I'm looking for a simple ...
1
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1answer
120 views

How large is my airship and how can it fly? [closed]

Writing epic fantasy, there is no modern technology and no magic that could propel my airship. It is supposed to hold a large pub/brothel in it, with a few rooms. How large would you say this airship ...
-2
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1answer
144 views

Fully understanding a universe from within that universe. Gödel's second theorem [closed]

Gödel's second theorem asserts that the consistency of a formal theory containing arithmetic cannot be proved by the tools of the relevant theory itself (provided that the theory is in fact consistent)...
2
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3answers
526 views

Population Growth of an Extraterrestrial Colony

Okay, i need help here. I'm sure this question has been asked before and if it has, please refer me to it. But a story I have been working on for a while now revolves around the adventures of a colony ...
17
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24answers
2k views

A game to outplay Death? [closed]

Sometimes, when someone dies with things left undone, Death will be willing to play a game for the opportunity to come back to life. However, there are several reasons why you'd expect not to be able ...
5
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3answers
212 views

historical examples of alternative typeset representations

In a scenario where scientists decipher a Math book of an alien culture, the last thing to expect is equations presented the way we know them.The way we write mathematical equations, is mostly taken ...
7
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4answers
4k views

How much would a 3" human male weigh?

In my world, which has an Earth-like gravity and environment, an adult, fit humanoid male is 3 inches tall. When I do a simple ratio calculation, I come up with him weighing 7.9 pounds. Basically, the ...
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0answers
247 views

How many aircraft could this submarine aircraft carrier carry on its flight deck? [closed]

I have a humongous submarine aircraft carrier (dubbed a Kharybdis-class submarine) shaped like a triangular arrowhead. This submarine can launch a wide variety of aircraft from its flight deck such as ...
14
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15answers
5k views

How might a Professor of Mathematics Change History?

A professor of mathematics is sent back in time to a post-Neolithic farming village. They accept him as their wise man, and he spends 30 years teaching them all he knows about mathematics until he ...
0
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6answers
516 views

If aliens exist, do you think that they ever discovered/created their own Math?

Let's say that the aliens exist, do you think that they are smart enough to create their own Mathematics? Or even their own Sciences?
22
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3answers
6k views

How advanced can a civilization get without zero?

More or less exactly what it says on the tin. Start with a group of cavemen on prehistoric earth, discovering fire, language, wheels, etc, and walk them along the path to civilization, but with one ...
4
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3answers
361 views

Could geniuses of the past catch up in a few months?

A historical college is facing closure, due their failing job placement, inflated grades and rumors that its nothing but a diploma mill. The last chance for the new president to persuade to the ...
1
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4answers
269 views

Could public-key cryptography, such as RSA, be useful and secure in the late Middle Ages in the absence of computers?

Cryptography has long history. Really long one. Of course, there is no need to say, how important was safety of secret messages between rulers and generals. In olden times, ciphers used were pretty ...
4
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4answers
361 views

Computers in a society whose mathematics is limited to geomety

Consider a society whose mathematics never developed numbers. Instead, the entirety of their mathematics is highly developed geometry (the kind of work done in the first few books of Euclid's Elements)...