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# Unit 1: Real Numbers

## Unit 1: Real Numbers

The thousandth decimal of sleeps there though

## no one may ever try to compute it William James, 1909

Human beings share the desire to organize and classify. Ancient astronomers classified stars into groups called constellations. Modern astronomers continue to classify stars by such characteristics as color, mass, size, temperature, and distance from Earth. In mathematics it is useful to place numbers with similar characteristics into sets.

1. Set of Numbers
1.1 Natural Numbers
The numbers we use to count are called the counting numbers or natural numbers. Because we begin counting with the number 1, the set of natural numbers begins with 1. The set of natural numbers is frequently denoted by :

(The set is in roster notation. The numbers are separated by commas and are inside set brackets. The number 5 is followed by an ellipsis, a series of three dots. An ellipsis tells us that this set of numbers is infinite. The list of numbers continues on forever, without end). Every natural number greater than 1 can be classified as either a prime number or a composite number. A prime number is a natural number greater than 1 that has exactly two factors (or divisors), itself and 1. A composite number is a natural number that is divisible by a number other than itself and 1.

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1.2

Whole Numbers
Another important set of numbers, the whole numbers, help to answer the question, How many?

Note that the set of whole numbers contains the number 0 but that the set of counting numbers does not. If a student were asked how many books have read this term, the answer would be a whole number. If the student has read no books, he would answer zero. Although we use the number 0 daily and take it for granted, the number zero as we know it was not used and accepted until the sixteenth century.

1.3

Integer Numbers
If the temperature is 12F and drops 20 , the resulting temperature is 8F. This type of problem shows the need for negative numbers. The set of integers consists of the negative integers, 0, and the positive integers.

The term positive integers is yet another name for the natural numbers. We can obtain an image of integer numbers by representing them on a number line. To construct the number line, arbitrarily select a point for zero to serve as the starting point. Place the positive integers to the right of 0, equally spaced from one another. Place the negative integers to the left of 0, using the same spacing.

The arrows at the ends of the number line indicate that the line continues indefinitely in both directions.

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Note that for any natural number, n, on the number line, the opposite of that number, - n, is also on the number line. For example:

The number line can be used to determine the greater (or lesser) of two integers. Two inequality symbols that we will use in this chapter are and . The symbol is read is greater than, and the symbol is read is less than On the number line, the numbers increase from left to right. The absolute value of a number is its distance from 0 on a number line. The symbol or notation for absolute value is | |. A distance is a number that is greater than or equal to 0. Since an absolute value is a distance, the absolute value od an integer is also greater than or equal to 0.

1.4

Rational Numbers
The numbers that fall between the integers on the number line are either rational or irrational. In this section, we discuss the rational numbers. Rational numbers are used to express a part of a whole, a part of a quantity.

The number below the fraction line is called denominator, and expresses the number of parts into which the whole is divided. The

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number above the fraction line is called the numerator, and expresses the number of parts taken. A more formal definition of rational numbers could be:

## , where p and q are integers, and

So any number that can be expressed as a quotient of two integers (denominator not zero) is a rational number:

When the numerator and denominator have a common divisor, we can reduce the fraction to its lowest terms (or simplest form):

A fraction is said to be in its lowest terms (or reduced, or simplified) when the numerator and the denominator are relatively prime. Now we can introduce the definition of equivalent fractions: Two fractions are said to be equivalent when simplifying both of them produces the same fraction, which cannot be further reduced. Equivalent fractions look different but represent the same portion of the whole. Equivalent fractions have the same numerical value. They are represented by the same rational number. Equivalent fractions are represented by the same point on the number line. We can test if two fractions are equivalent by crossmultiplying (or cross-product) their numerators and denominators.

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Proper and Improper Fractions. Mixed Numbers. Rational numbers less than 1 or greater than -1 are represented by proper fractions. A proper fraction is a fraction whose numerator is less than its denominator:

## called a mixed number because it consists of an integer, 2, and a fraction

and it is equal to

## The mixed number

means

).

Rational numbers greater than 1 or less than -1 that are not integers may be represented as mixed numbers, or as improper fractions. An improper fraction is a fraction whose numerator is greater than its denominator.

Fractions and Decimal Numbers a) Converting Fractions to Decimal Numbers To obtain the decimal number which is related to a fraction we only have to divide the numerator by the denominator:

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Note the following important property of the rational numbers. Every rational number, every fraction, when expressed as a decimal number will be either a terminating or a recurring (or repeating) decimal number.

Decimal Numbers

Decimal Part

## The fraction in its lowest terms

Terminating It Does not go on If the only factors of the or Exact forever. denominator are 2 or 5 or combinations of 2 and 5 then You can write the fraction will be a down all its digits terminating decimal.

Recurring or Repeating

on If the denominator hasnt any 2 or 5 factors then the fraction will be a recurring decimal. It Repeats a block of digits. It Does forever. go

If the denominator has any factors other than 2 and/or 5 then the fraction will be a recurring decimal.

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b) Converting Decimal Numbers to Fractions To convert a terminating decimal number to a quotient of integers, we observe the last digit to the right of the decimal point. The position of this digit will indicate the denominator of the quotient of integers. The numerator will be the decimal number without the decimal point.

As the numerator, we use the decimal number without the decimal point, whole part + decimal part without dot.

## 3 hundredths means 100 as a denominator

As the denominator, we use 10, 100, 1000, according to the number of the decimal places.

Converting a repeating decimal number to a quotient of integers is more difficult than converting a terminating decimal. When the repeating digits are directly to the right of the decimal point, as the number

## Whole part + decimal part without decimal point.

As the numerator

Whole part

As the denominator: we use 9, 99, 999, according to the number of repeating digits.

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Sometimes the repeating digits are not directly to the right of the decimal point. For example algorithm below.

As the numerator

## Whole part and non-repeating decimal part

As the denominator: we use as many nines as repeating digits after the decimal point, and as many zeroes as non-repeating digits.

1.5

Irrational Numbers

A Piece of the
In December 2002, Yasumasa Kanada and others at the University of Tokyo announced that they had calculated to decimal places, beating their previous record set in 1999. Their computation of consumed more than 600 hours of time on a Hitachi SR8000 supercomputer. This record, like the record for the largest prime number, will most likely be broken in the near future (it might already be broken as you read this). Mathematicians and computer scientists continue to improve both their computers and their methods used to find numbers like the most accurate approximation for or the largest prime number.

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The formula is known as the Pythagorean theorem. The School of Pythagoras found that the solution of the formula, where and , is not a rational number.

There is no rational number that when squared will equal 2. This fact prompted (caused) a need for a new set of numbers, the irrational numbers. The points on the number line that are not rational numbers are referred to as irrational numbers. Recall that every rational number is either a terminating or a repeating decinal number. Therefore,

Irrational numbers, when represented as decimal numbers, will be non-terminating, non-repeating decimal numbers. They have an unlimited amount of decimal digits.

Types of representing irrational numbers A non-repeating decimal number such as can be used to indicate an irrational number. Notice that no number or set of numbers repeat on a continuous basis, and the three dots at the end of the number indicate that the number continues indefinitely. Non-repeating number patterns can be used to indicate irrational numbers. For example:

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## ... Eulers Number Golden Ratio

2. Real Numbers
Now that we have discussed both the rational and the irrational numbers, we can discuss the real numbers and the properties of the real number system. The union of the rational numbers and the irrational numbers is the set of real numbers, symbolized by . The relationship between the various sets of numbers in the real number system can be illustrated with a tree diagram.

{ { { { {

2.1

## The order on the Real Numbers

The set of real numbers is simply ordered. It obeys the following laws of order: For two given real numbers, a and b, exactly one of the following relations is true:

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2.2

## Properties of the Real Number System

We are prepared to consider the properties of the real number system.

Properties

Multiplication

Closure:
If an operation is performed on any two elements of a set and the result is an element of the set, we say that the set is close under that given operation.

Commutative

Associative
There exists a unique There exists a real number 0 such that unique real number 1 such that

Identity

Inverse

For each real number , For each nonzero , there is a unique real real number there is a unique number such that real number such that

Distributive

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2.3

## The Real Number Line

The real numbers can be represented geometrically by a coordinate axis called a real number line.

The number associated with a point on a real number line is called the coordinate of the point. The point corresponding to zero is called the origin. Every real number corresponds to a point on the number line, and every point on the number line corresponds to a real number. Irrational numbers can only be represented on the number line approximately, but there are some exceptions: We can represent certain square roots using the Pythagorean Theorem graphically (using a compass and a ruler).

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2.4

Absolute Value
The absolute value of a real number a, denoted | |, is the distance between a and zero on the number line. A more formal definition of Absolute Value:

## | | 2.5 Interval Notation

When we want to refer to a particular subset of real numbers we use interval notation. For example, if we want to indicate that the solutions of an inequality are all the numbers between 1 and 7, we need to use special notation:

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## 3. Rounding and Error

3.1 Rounding Numbers
Rounding a number approximately. is another way of writing a number

Quite often, an approximate answer is acceptable. Rounding gives approximate answers. Rounding is very common for numbers in everyday life, for example: Populations are often expressed to the nearest million. The number of people attending a pop concert may be expressed to the nearest thousand. Inflation may be expressed to the nearest whole number, or the nearest tenth of a percentage.

There are several different methods for rounding, but here we will only look at the common method, the one used by most people. How to Round Numbers Decide which is the last digit to keep Leave it the same if the next digit is less than 5 (this is called rounding down) But increase it by 1 if the next digit is 5 or more (this is called rounding up) Bear in mind the following place value diagram

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For example: Any number can be rounded to a given number of decimal places (written d.p.)

## (Round down to 4 d.p.)

Any number can be rounded to a given number of significant figures (written s.f.)

3.2

## Estimation and Approximation

Estimation and approximation are important elements of the noncalculator examination paper. You will be required to give an estimation by rounding numbers to convenient approximations, usually one significant figure. For example: If we have to estimate the value of We would do the following approximation

(Using a calculator, the actual answer is 1.9939407 so the estimated answer is a good approximation)

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3.3

## Determining Rounding Error

Absolute and relative error are two types of error measurement. The differences are important. Absolute error is the difference between the Exact Value and the approximate value.

Sometimes is impossible to know the exact value of a number, then the Absolute Value depends on the approximation.

Relative error is the absolute error divided by the magnitude of the exact value. The percent error is the relative error expressed in terms of per 100.

We need to know the value or the percentage of the relative error to determine the accuracy of different measurements or approximations. So it is a comparative tool.

As an example: If the exact value is 50 and the approximation is 49.9, then the absolute error is |

## and the relative error is

.
The relative error is often used to compare approximations of numbers of widely differing size; for example, approximating the number 1,000 with an absolute error of 3 is, in most applications, much worse than approximating the number 1,000,000 with an absolute error of 3; in the first case the relative error is 0.003 and in the second it is only 0.000003.

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Another example: If you measure a beaker and read, 5mL. If you know that the correct reading should have been 6mL. Then, this means that your % error (Approximate error) would have been

or 16.66666..% error.