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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1 vote
4 answers
308 views

Pyramid step height question: is my math correct? [closed]

I'm writing a bit involving a pyramid. The pyramid is 400 feet in width, 150 feet tall, and one side has 100 steps ascending to the top. The first step is 36 inches (3 feet) tall, and each successive ...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
116 views

How to create a custom gematria system for a world? [closed]

I just recently asked What are the origins of the various forms of Gematria? and What are the rules for constructing a gematria system? Now I am wondering how to create a custom gematria system for a ...
user avatar
  • 183
0 votes
1 answer
134 views

A solution of P=NP breaks quantum ciphers [closed]

Somebody finds an effective NP-complete algorithm. Then he breaks quantum ciphers by reversing time (time can be made backward by quantum symmetries, so the difference between forward and backward is ...
user avatar
  • 125
1 vote
1 answer
145 views

What Would Be The Technological Limitations of a Civilization That Never Developed the Concept of Zero? [duplicate]

I have been brainstorming a short-story idea about an advanced civilization that develops on earth 60 million years after humans go extinct. Said civilization discovers time travel and decides to meet ...
user avatar
  • 1,373
0 votes
1 answer
120 views

How large can individual Dyson segments be before they get torn apart by tidal forces or orbital variations?

Yet another follow up question in my Dyson sphere series. Assuming the arrays are orbiting at 1 AU, the distance between an inclination of 0.01 degrees is 26,109,754 meters, meaning that there must be ...
user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
222 views

How can extraterrestrials know more advanced math, and use it, to systematically beat the USA stock market? [closed]

In one of the later episodes (I can't remember which, just edit this post pls if you do) on The Event, an NBC TV series from 2010 to 2011, someone (I can't remember their name) asks Thomas (acted by ...
user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
210 views

Feasibility of cylindrical rasterization? (Alien GPUs)

Background / Rationale Many fictional worlds feature sapient herbivores, but rarely spend much time considering how their tools and technology would differ. In the course of writing my story, however, ...
user avatar
  • 14.1k
12 votes
12 answers
2k views

A mathematical problem that no computer can solve, but a human can

I am aware this is in the gray area of “story question or world question” but I think it is at least mainly world based. So in this reality set in the far future, somehow a certain math problem has ...
user avatar
  • 2,193
-4 votes
2 answers
166 views

Please Check My Fictional Calculus (Halting Problem, Incompleteness)

For a story, I'm having a character invent a new kind of calculus. Halting Problem The new math efficiently solves the Halting Problem. What is the Halting Problem? Provided you have code like this -- ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
102 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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
304 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 ...
user avatar
39 votes
10 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 775
0 votes
6 answers
272 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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
369 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 ...
user avatar
  • 45
6 votes
1 answer
173 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 ...
user avatar
7 votes
7 answers
549 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 ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
123 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 ...
user avatar
7 votes
11 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,511
2 votes
1 answer
201 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 ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
285 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 ...
user avatar
  • 405
1 vote
3 answers
152 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 ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
112 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 ...
user avatar
  • 152
2 votes
1 answer
139 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 ...
user avatar
  • 29
26 votes
7 answers
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 ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
122 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 ...
user avatar
  • 2,294
6 votes
4 answers
431 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 ...
user avatar
  • 877
8 votes
2 answers
338 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
211 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 ...
user avatar
  • 143
3 votes
3 answers
112 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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,300
2 votes
1 answer
157 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 ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
1k 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?
user avatar
  • 1,274
5 votes
1 answer
267 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 ...
user avatar
7 votes
11 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 204
0 votes
1 answer
121 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 (...
user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
user avatar
11 votes
8 answers
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 ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
88 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 (...
user avatar
  • 1,078
3 votes
1 answer
165 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 ...
user avatar
  • 153
2 votes
2 answers
157 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 ...
user avatar
  • 395
2 votes
1 answer
157 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 ...
user avatar
16 votes
8 answers
7k 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 ...
user avatar
  • 3,307
3 votes
1 answer
174 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 ...
user avatar
  • 46k
10 votes
3 answers
471 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, ...
user avatar
  • 12.8k
1 vote
4 answers
202 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 ...
user avatar
  • 46k
3 votes
2 answers
352 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 ...
user avatar
  • 65.4k
18 votes
6 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 46k
2 votes
3 answers
235 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?
user avatar
  • 46k
36 votes
8 answers
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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,048
5 votes
3 answers
202 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 ...
user avatar