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Topic: Re[2]: imaginary numbers
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Sam Evers

Posts: 20
Registered: 12/6/04
Re[2]: imaginary numbers
Posted: Dec 6, 1995 2:06 PM
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Mike writes:

>...In a similar vein, I have heard someone say that the original
>meaning of "irrational" number was really the in the sense of it not
>being rational to believe that they existed. They claimed to have a
>good source for it, but, alas, I didn't write it down. Anyone know?

Mike, I can't answer as to the original meaning of the word, but in
some recent research I was doing I discovered that at least the idea
of irrational numbers is extremely ancient. The book I was reading
was quoting Euclid's Elements (c. 300 BC). The quote went something
like "The side of a square is incommensurable with its diagonal." a
reference, of course, to the irrationality of the square root of 2.
Just something I thought y'all might find interesting - and also using
the word "incommensurable" in conversation is bound to impress (if not
confuse) your friends.


"Suddenly, and without warning, wild
horses burst in and dragged Sam away."

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