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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15
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3answers
2k views

Gregorian Calendar and dates before its implementation - how to correctly place an event before 1582? [closed]

For dialogues occurring in the story the characters would use their respective culture/civilization calendar, but for the one writing the story a way to use a familiar calendar to place an event is ...
2
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1answer
183 views

Is there an effective difference between distances in 3d space and higher dimensional space

Note before I begin: I am aware that this might be a Math-heavy question that might be better suited for the math.se Goal: I'd like to use n-dimensional geometry as a method for effectively ...
-7
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1answer
219 views

What is a coefficient? [closed]

I am having hard trouble learning about coefficients and constants. Please give me a specific example or answer. I think that a coefficient is a number after a variable. Also I believe that Constants ...
1
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3answers
488 views

What if we discovered a real paradox? [closed]

On an elementary school in the US, there was a teacher who used to give the pupils math exercises he invented himself. One day, they calculated the cathetus of a right triangle and magically, they got ...
26
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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 ...
1
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1answer
246 views

KVLY-TV: Nepalese Edition

Standing 2063 feet tall, KVLY-TV is currently the tallest transmitting mast in the world. Standing above the flatness of North Dakota, you might think it's in a safe place to stand. But the Great ...
15
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4answers
942 views

Encountering the Accountants : Spreading Numeracy in the Neolithic World

The BBC in the UK are currently screening a archaeology series exploring the idea that the Neolithic peoples in the Orkney Isles (North of Scotland) were the cultural capital of the British Isles. ...
38
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9answers
4k views

Encryption in the 19th century

Heinrich is a scientist and a scholar, one of the greatest minds of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire around 1880. He studied mathematics, physics and engineering. He patented a few of his ideas and ...
14
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9answers
2k views

Should I use base-10 or base-12 numbers in my story? [closed]

My aliens have 2 thumbs for a stronger grip and the 2 thumbs are on opposite sides of the hand. However since there are 6 fingers total per hand and 2 hands my aliens naturally use base 12. +1 for ...
50
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15answers
13k views

Alien number systems - Is the decimal system special?

Is there anything about the decimal number system that conveys any advantages over any other number system? So is it any more likely that some other alien race would use base-10 numbers in everyday ...
3
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4answers
297 views

Accuracy of timekeeping based on the age of Earth

In many countries, we number the years based off of proximity to an event in the Christian religion - we are over 2016 years past that date. However, in this scenario, religion has become less ...
3
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2answers
173 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, ...
3
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2answers
217 views

Given an infinite set of universes, how would one identify which universe they are from? [closed]

Terry is writing a book that he's publishing in several universes (this is distinct from several versions of Terry publishing in their respective universes). He needs to identify which universe he ...
7
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2answers
179 views

Other universes in a broad sense [closed]

When speaking about other universes people usually consider altered physical laws, while leaving logic and other basic things unchanged. What if to consider other universes based not on different ...
2
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1answer
519 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 ...
21
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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 ...
29
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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 ...
9
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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 ...
0
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3answers
158 views

Time on fictional planet

I already have the year being 2.2 earth years(800 earth days to be exact) on Kepler Bb due to transitional phases(of which there are 4 and each one lasts 80 earth days) and the main seasons being 1/3 ...
2
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1answer
122 views

Modifying the definition of action

Why magic and physics cannot coexist peacefully? After reading many physics and math stuff, I think that the problem maybe come from the principle of least action. So, I edited the definition of ...
1
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2answers
82 views

Impacts of the collapse of the current cyber-security? [closed]

Much of the information transferred over the internet is encrypted using methods which rely on the fact that currently, very large numbers are extremely difficult to factor. Imagine that in the near ...
1
vote
4answers
305 views

How can mathematical equations be expressed without equations? [closed]

i.e., without directly stating the equation. My question is about explaining math concepts with art and demonstration. More concretely, how can I explain $y = mx + b$ or $f(x) = 2^x$ without using ...
1
vote
3answers
873 views

What happens if Pi is changed? [closed]

A mad scientists constructs a device which changes Pi instantly from 3.1415... to something like 4.7182...; it is still an irrational number but it is different. What changes would happen? The ...
0
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2answers
147 views

On a frozen planet with a tower that generates an artificial sun, how tall would the tower have to be to illuminate an area with a 1000 mile diameter? [closed]

Yes this is a fictional worldbuilding brainstorming question. But I'm sure there's a mathematical equation to find the answer. I just don't know what it is. Anyone? Let's assume the planet is the size ...
19
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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 ...
5
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5answers
779 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 ...
2
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1answer
184 views

What if the laws of mathematics were different in a parallel universe? [duplicate]

Mathematics is the base of everything. What would happen if the laws of mathematics would be differend in an universe? How would the universe work, what would be the laws of physics, etc... Examples ...
20
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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 ...
13
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4answers
995 views

If we had four digits on each hand

I once heard someone claim that if we had four digits on each hand our mathematics would be well in advance of what it is. Presumably this is because 4 is a power of 2 and those clever computers ...
6
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1answer
481 views

What would produce tetration in physics?

In a parallel universe much of the physics equation have tetration in them. There are things such as tetrational growth as well as tetrational decay. $x^x$ and $x^{x^x}$ are also found in some ...
3
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5answers
472 views

Developing Counting Systems [duplicate]

It’s common knowledge that (most) modern societies use arabic numerals, and moreover use base 10 for counting. That is, you count from 1 to 9 (unless you’re a programmer and you start at 0) and then ...
-1
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1answer
225 views

Tables are politically incorrect. What do we call times tables? [closed]

So, at some point, tables (the physical thing) became politically incorrect, and liberals are calling for the offensive term "times table" to be removed from schools. What can we call them instead. ...
10
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10answers
433 views

Adopt a new numeral system

I am creating a fictional off-solar system colony. In this colony people started to use a duodecimal positional number system. The people were all cultured in science and practical with numbers. They ...
6
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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 ...
-1
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6answers
366 views

What would our world be like if we only had knowledge of mathematics up to (and including) precalculus? [closed]

What would our world be like if we only had knowledge of mathematics up to (and including) precalculus? Would we be able to build skyscraper? Would we be able to build planes? How different would our ...
32
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15answers
13k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
421 views

Mathematics without Logic

Can there be a different kind of mathematics with different sets of rules? That is without inference and axioms. One attempt might be Stephen Wolfram's "New Kind of Science", but I am not sure that ...
23
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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....

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