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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31
votes
15answers
12k views

Is mathematics a truly universal language?

The quote has many forms, but is basically "mathematics is a universal language." My question is if this is true? If we met aliens could we use mathematics to talk to them? The fact that we could ...
22
votes
10answers
13k views

A World Without Mathematics

What significant technologies would be lost in a world without "Advanced" Mathematics? Specifically, what technologies required to get to the next level of scientific progress in an area would be lost....
21
votes
8answers
2k views

Aliens doing algebra

Suppose we have an intelligent alien who has landed on Earth and has somehow found his way into a human high school math class (for the sake of scenic stability, the alien has the ability to cloak ...
18
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8answers
4k views

Universe where mathematics is different

There are many ways to conceive of a universe where physical constants are different to our own; however, what would the universe be like if mathematics itself were different? For instance, what ...
2
votes
1answer
433 views

Calculating G-Force and Velocity

Simplifying a larger problem. Building a sci-fi text game and I don't want the science to be too wrong. Imagine I have two points in space which are 111,125 kilometers apart and it takes 17 minutes ...
19
votes
10answers
3k views

In the magic==math trope, how do “they” know when we're doing spells?

Take Charles Stross’s Laundry stories as an exemplar for this modern day approach that makes explicit the analogy between computer geeks and fantasy mages. If P = NP then magic is possible. Here’s a ...
29
votes
10answers
10k views

How far back in time would Maths be understandable to a modern mathematician?

Shamelessly inspired by this question (sorry), but I got this question after Michael gave a answer - my mathematician would essentially have to relearn maths, as mathematics in Ancient Greece is ...
26
votes
11answers
5k views

Recognizable natural numbers for alien message?

It’s rather cliché that an alien message would use a value like π (actually I expect it to be 2π because Earthlings are weird), but in my story the message which contains the bootstrap information for ...
7
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
757 views

If I had an alien race, how would they interpret our numerical characters as being numbers?

So say we discovered aliens through a wormhole near Saturn (Interstellar anyone?). Congratz to us! But we have a bigger issue in trying to communicate with them. They developed in a completely ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Airship Aircraft Carrier Dimensions

I'm currently writing a military science fiction story set in a post cyberpunk world I've been building. The story focuses on a tank crew, but it also prominently features an enormous airship that ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How would a mathematician compare to a scholar in Ancient Greece?

Somewhat based on this question, let's say a normal person from our world for some reason goes back into time - to the Hellenic Greece around 490 BC and somehow manages to become a philosopher. My ...
3
votes
2answers
166 views

Operations coded for in DNA, Reasonable? [closed]

In my Math World story, all numbers are of a single race, no matter the base, irrational or rational, complex or geometry, same race. Sexual Reproduction is different in 3 ways actually, meiosis, ...
2
votes
1answer
172 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 ...