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Rational Number In mathematics, a rational number is any number that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction a/b of two integers, with the denominator b not equal to zero. Since b may be equal to 1, every integer is a rational number. The set of all rational numbers is usually denoted by a boldface Q (or blackboard bold , Unicode ), which stands for quotient.

The decimal expansion of a rational number always either terminates after a finite number of digits or begins to repeat the same finite sequence of digits over and over. Moreover, any repeating or terminating decimal represents a rational number. These statements hold true not just for base 10, but also for binary, hexadecimal, or any other integer base. A real number that is not rational is called irrational. Irrational numbers include 2, , and e. The decimal expansion of an irrational number continues forever without repeating. Since the set of rational numbers is countable, and the set of real numbers is uncountable, almost all real numbers are irrational. KnowMoreAboutSquareRootOf7

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The rational numbers can be formally defined as the equivalence classes of the quotient set (Z (Z {0})) / ~, where the cartesian product Z (Z {0}) is the set of all ordered pairs (m,n) where m and n are integers, n is not zero (n 0), and "~" is the equivalence relation defined by (m1,n1) ~ (m2,n2) if, and only if, m1n2 m2n1 = 0. In abstract algebra, the rational numbers together with certain operations of addition and multiplication form a field. This is the archetypical field of characteristic zero, and is the field of fractions for the ring of integers. Finite extensions of Q are called algebraic number fields, and the algebraic closure of Q is the field of algebraic numbers. In mathematical analysis, the rational numbers form a dense subset of the real numbers. The real numbers can be constructed from the rational numbers by completion, using Cauchy sequences, Dedekind cuts, or infinite decimals.

Irrational number In mathematics, an irrational number is any real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio a/b, where a and b are integers, with b non-zero, and is therefore not a rational number. Informally, this means that an irrational number cannot be represented as a simple fraction. Irrational numbers are those real numbers that cannot be represented as terminating or repeating decimals. As a consequence of Cantor's proof that the real numbers are uncountable (and the rationals countable) it follows that almost all real numbers are irrational. When the ratio of lengths of two line segments is irrational, the line segments are also described as being incommensurable, meaning they share no measure in common.

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Perhaps the best-known irrational numbers are: the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter , Euler's number e, the golden ratio , and the square root of two 2. It has been suggested that the concept of irrationality was implicitly accepted by Indian mathematicians since the 7th century BC, when Manava (c. 750690 BC) believed that the square roots of numbers such as 2 and 61 could not be exactly determined. However, Boyer states that "...such claims are not well substantiated and unlikely to be true." The discovery of incommensurable ratios was indicative of another problem facing the Greeks: the relation of the discrete to the continuous. Brought into light by Zeno of Elea, he questioned the conception that quantities are discrete, and composed of a finite number of units of a given size. Past Greek conceptions dictated that they necessarily must be, for whole numbers represent discrete objects, and a commensurable ratio represents a relation between two collections of discrete objects. However Zeno found that in fact [quantities] in general are not discrete collections of units; this is why ratios of incommensurable [quantities] appear.[Q]uantities are, in other words, continuous. What this means is that, contrary to the popular conception of the time, there cannot be an indivisible, smallest unit of measure for any quantity. That in fact, these divisions of quantity must necessarily be infinite. For example, consider a line segment: this segment can be split in half, that half split in half, the half of the half in half, and so on. This process can continue infinitely, for there is always another half to be split. The more times the segment is halved, the closer the unit of measure comes to zero, but it never reaches exactly zero.

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