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
3
votes
2answers
90 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
0answers
73 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
votes
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
votes
1answer
76 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
votes
2answers
246 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
vote
4answers
151 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
258 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 ...
15
votes
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
votes
3answers
182 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?
34
votes
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
votes
3answers
164 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
votes
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
129 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
votes
0answers
74 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{...
36
votes
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
votes
3answers
118 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
144 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
votes
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
votes
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
votes
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, ...
-5
votes
1answer
143 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
votes
9answers
423 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
85 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
498 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
votes
7answers
306 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
votes
1answer
358 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
vote
2answers
159 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 ...
-5
votes
11answers
334 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
votes
2answers
164 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
vote
1answer
115 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
votes
1answer
140 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
votes
3answers
464 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
votes
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
votes
3answers
209 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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
246 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
votes
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
votes
6answers
512 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
votes
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
votes
3answers
358 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
vote
4answers
268 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
votes
4answers
357 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)...
7
votes
3answers
197 views

Effects of a supermassive ship colliding with a planet

The basis of my story revolves around a single survivor escaping a massive colony ship gone critical above the skies of an alien world. After his escape via escape pod, the ship crashes halfway across ...
2
votes
1answer
181 views

Upscaling Insects and the effect resulting upon their biology

Assuming the information in this video by the Cambridge University is correct, Planthoppers can jump as far as a meter. Their size ranges from 1cm in cooler climates to 5cm in the tropics. With ...
0
votes
1answer
139 views

How realistic are these levels of cryptographic advances within the setting described? [closed]

Recently, I've been musing about cryptographic applications of theoretical future technologies for (breaking) secure interstellar communications. The setting is a video game (Stellaris) featuring ...
4
votes
8answers
438 views

Could a mathematical constant actually change? [closed]

(Note: I have a degree in mathematics, but this question goes a bit beyond that.) Take a value like pi ($\pi$). Only a mere handful of decimals is all we could empirically verify to be "true" (...
6
votes
4answers
238 views

How to facilitate inter-species communication with math?

Mathematics is considered to be the language of the universe since it is the most fundamental type of logic (in physics anyway) and therefore the best way of expressing the universe (which is a ...
2
votes
2answers
243 views

How would a culture with a continuous language behave? [closed]

Suppose that there is a race of humanoid beings whose mouth parts are able to make a wide, continuous range of sounds (as opposed to humans who I'm considering to have a medium-sized discrete range of ...
-4
votes
4answers
153 views

Little-endian number display system [closed]

What would be the effects on a human civilization if its convention of number display is little-endian, i.e. its people represent one hundred and twenty-three as 321...