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Math Help - Do non-integer numbers exist in nature?

  1. #1
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    Do non-integer numbers exist in nature?

    Hi all ,
    Do non-integer numbers (that arent proportions like pi) exist in nature?

    Thanks

    Regards

    Q
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    Quote Originally Posted by quddusaliquddus View Post
    Hi all ,
    Do non-integer numbers (that arent proportions like pi) exist in nature?

    Thanks

    Regards

    Q
    Do integers exist in nature?

    No, all numbers are abstract, their mode of existance is not the same as that
    of a physical object.

    RonL
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    But isnt it possible to say that an electron is 1 electron? And two electrons are 2 electrons? IE integers?

    Does that make sense?
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    Quote Originally Posted by quddusaliquddus View Post
    But isnt it possible to say that an electron is 1 electron? And two electrons are 2 electrons? IE integers?

    Does that make sense?
    But you cannot show us the 1 or the 2.

    How is this any different from saying that the diagonal of a square is root 2
    times it's diagonal?

    RonL
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    You can observe electrons using scientific instruments. And also - the diagonal is made up of certain number of atoms which is theoretically countable isnt it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by quddusaliquddus View Post
    You can observe electrons using scientific instruments. And also - the diagonal is made up of certain number of atoms which is theoretically countable isnt it?
    You are getting into some VERY deep waters here. Let me put this to rest in the best (Physical) way I know how: I know of no combination of "quantum" units that makes everything an integer. As the number pi alone is irrational I suspect that such a unit scheme is impossible. (This doesn't even count the possibility that constants such as Planck's constant, the mass of an electron, etc. aren't also irrational. As far as I know there is no way to prove or disprove the rationality of such numbers at this time.)

    -Dan
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    Thanks to both of you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by quddusaliquddus View Post
    You can observe electrons using scientific instruments.
    But where is the number 1 in all this


    And also - the diagonal is made up of certain number of atoms which is theoretically countable isnt it?
    but again where is that number, you are showing a counting process not a
    number that can be pointed at.

    RonL
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    Any kind of number can exist in nature. You're using numbers to quantify something, so really you could call anything "1 thing." For example, I have 1 shirt. Within the shirt are thousands of threads. Within the threads are a much larger amount of fibres, etc.

    When looking at the number of shirts, I see 1. If I were to look at the number of (2 shirts), I would have 0.5.

    Really any number is in nature, it just depends on what you're trying to quantify.
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    Is the number 0 abstract, or does a lack of other tangible numbers in nature make it tangible?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean.1986 View Post
    Is the number 0 abstract, or does a lack of other tangible numbers in nature make it tangible?
    What would it mean for a number to be tangible?

    RonL
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean.1986 View Post
    Is the number 0 abstract, or does a lack of other tangible numbers in nature make it tangible?
    If your are looking for a physic "thing" you may consider the vacuum, don't you?
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    This is how I think of numbers:

    I think of natural numbers as simply the intersection of all the inductive sets, so natural numbers are simply sets. I think of integers are the equvilance classes of N x {0,1}, where the 0 represents the positive and 1 represents the negative. I think of the rationals as simply the field of quotients of the integers. I think of the reals are the completion of the rationals under Dedekind cuts. And I think of the complex numbers as simply the Cartesian product of the reals with themselves.
    ----
    It depends how you want to think of numbers. If you are a mathematician you think of them like I described them above. Numbers are simply sets (there are a certain elegance to that). Nothing more. But the majority of people do not view numbers in such an way. Most people associate numbers with certain physical means. So naturals are used for counting things. Rationals are used for doing parts of a whole. Reals can be used to measure distance. And complex can be used to represents points on a plane.
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