# Definition:Number

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## Definition

There are five main classes of number:

- $(1): \quad$ The natural numbers: $\N = \set {0, 1, 2, 3, \ldots}$
- $(2): \quad$ The integers: $\Z = \set {\ldots, -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3, \ldots}$
- $(3): \quad$ The rational numbers: $\Q = \set {p / q: p, q \in \Z, q \ne 0}$
- $(4): \quad$ The real numbers: $\R = \set {x: x = \sequence {s_n} }$ where $\sequence {s_n}$ is a Cauchy sequence in $\Q$
- $(5): \quad$ The complex numbers: $\C = \set {a + i b: a, b \in \R, i^2 = -1}$

It is possible to categorize numbers further, for example:

- The set of algebraic numbers $\mathbb A$ is the subset of the complex numbers which are roots of polynomials with rational coefficients. The algebraic numbers include the rational numbers, $\sqrt 2$, and the golden section $\varphi$.

- The set of transcendental numbers is the set of all the real numbers which are not algebraic. The transcendental numbers include $\pi, e$ and $\sqrt 2^{\sqrt 2}$.

- The set of prime numbers (sometimes referred to as $\mathbb P$) is the subset of the integers which have exactly two positive divisors, $1$ and the number itself. The first several positive primes are $2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, \ldots$

## Number Sets as Algebraic Structures

Note that:

- $\struct {\N, +, \le}$ can be defined as a naturally ordered semigroup.
- $\struct {\Z, +, \times, \le}$ is a totally ordered integral domain.
- $\struct {\Q, +, \times, \le}$ is a totally ordered field, and also a metric space.
- $\struct {\R, +, \times, \le}$ is a totally ordered field, and also a complete metric space.
- $\struct {\C, +, \times}$ is a field, but cannot be ordered. However, it can be treated as a metric space.

## Also see

It is possible to continue from the concept of complex numbers and define:

- The quaternions $\mathbb H$ (labelled $\mathbb H$ for William Rowan Hamilton who discovered / invented them)
- The octonions $\mathbb O$
- The sedenions $\mathbb S$

and so forth.

Thence follows an entire branch of mathematics: see Cayley-Dickson construction.

In a different direction, the concept of natural numbers can be extended to the ordinals or the cardinals.

## Comment

Note that (up to isomorphism):

- $\N \subseteq \Z \subseteq \Q \subseteq \R \subseteq \C$

and of course $\mathbb P \subseteq \Z$.

## Sources

- 1965: J.A. Green:
*Sets and Groups*... (next): $\S 1.1$. Sets - 1965: Seth Warner:
*Modern Algebra*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $1$: Algebraic Structures: $\S 1$: The Language of Set Theory - 1967: George McCarty:
*Topology: An Introduction with Application to Topological Groups*... (next): Introduction - 1975: T.S. Blyth:
*Set Theory and Abstract Algebra*... (previous) ... (next): $\S 1$. Sets; inclusion; intersection; union; complementation; number systems - 1975: W.A. Sutherland:
*Introduction to Metric and Topological Spaces*... (previous) ... (next): Notation and Terminology - 1977: K.G. Binmore:
*Mathematical Analysis: A Straightforward Approach*... (previous) ... (next): $\S 1$: Real Numbers: $\S 1.2$: The set of real numbers - 1978: Thomas A. Whitelaw:
*An Introduction to Abstract Algebra*... (previous) ... (next): $\S 2$: Introductory remarks on sets: $\text{(b)}$ - 1996: H. Jerome Keisler and Joel Robbin:
*Mathematical Logic and Computability*... (previous) ... (next): Appendix $\text{A}.1$: Sets