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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6
votes
1answer
147 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
328 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
95 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
156 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
135 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
126 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
vote
1answer
89 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
118 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
votes
1answer
108 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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3answers
343 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
282 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
193 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
109 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
147 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
votes
1answer
671 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
votes
1answer
513 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
votes
1answer
213 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
99 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
699 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
82 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
votes
1answer
126 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
140 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
votes
1answer
153 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
97 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
447 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, ...
1
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4answers
187 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
340 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
214 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?
36
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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
votes
3answers
186 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
votes
3answers
152 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
136 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
votes
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
180 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
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, ...
-4
votes
1answer
178 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
569 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
votes
1answer
91 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
votes
5answers
625 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 ...