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Thursday, October 02, 2014

The Only 8 Numbers You Need To Do Math

"There are infinitely many numbers, and infinitely many ways to combine and manipulate those numbers." continues Business Insider.

Photo: Business Insider

Mathematicians often represent numbers in a line. Pick a point on the line, and this represents a number.

At the end of the day, though, almost all of the numbers that we use are based on a handful of extremely important numbers that sit at the foundation of all of math.

What follows are the eight numbers you actually need to build the number line, and to do just about anything quantitative.


In The Beginning, There Was Zero.

Black holes are the ultimate in nothing
Zero represents the absence of things. Zero is also an essential element of our number system. We use zero as a placeholder when writing numbers with more than one digit — zero lets me know the difference between having 2 dollars and 20 dollars.

Zero as a number on its own is also extremely important in math. Zero is the "additive identity" — any time I add a number to zero, I get that number back: 3 + 0 = 3. This property of zero is a central aspect of arithmetic and algebra. Zero sits in the middle of the number line, separating the positive numbers from the negative numbers, and is thus the starting point for building our number system.

Source: Business Insider