Transcendental numbers powered by Cantor's infinities | Summary and Q&A

April 22, 2017
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Transcendental numbers powered by Cantor's infinities


This video provides an accessible introduction to transcendental numbers, exploring their construction through Cantor's ideas and demonstrating their significance in mathematics.

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Key Insights

  • #️⃣ Most ancient mathematicians believed all numbers were rational until the discovery of irrational numbers like root 2 and the golden ratio.
  • 👂 Algebraic numbers can be listed using Cantor's method, showing their countable infinity.
  • #️⃣ The real numbers, including transcendental numbers, make up an uncountably infinite set.


Welcome to another Mathologer video. To make sense of transcendental numbers is considered to be very tough and no YouTube video or other attempt at popularization I know of even gets close to a really convincing argument that some particular number is transcendental, let alone anything beyond that. Today's video is my best shot at giving an introd... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What are transcendental numbers?

Transcendental numbers are numbers that cannot be expressed as solutions to polynomial equations with integer coefficients. They transcend the world of algebra.

Q: How are algebraic numbers listed using Cantor's method?

Algebraic numbers can be listed by starting with the rational numbers, then listing the solutions to quadratic, cubic, and higher-degree equations. These listings can be constructed using grids or other methods.

Q: Why are transcendental numbers considered important in mathematics?

Transcendental numbers, like pi and e, have special properties and are essential in many mathematical proofs and calculations. Their transcendence also has significant implications, such as proving that squaring the circle is impossible.

Q: How are rational numbers related to transcendental numbers?

Rational numbers are a subset of algebraic numbers. Transcendental numbers, on the other hand, are numbers that are not algebraic. They are distinct from both rational and algebraic numbers in terms of their properties.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The video explains that numbers can be categorized as rational, algebraic, or transcendental.

  • It demonstrates Cantor's construction method for listing rational numbers and highlights the existence of irrational numbers.

  • The video explores the countably infinite nature of algebraic numbers compared to the uncountably infinite nature of real and transcendental numbers.

  • It concludes with an introduction to Liouville's constant as an example of a transcendental number.

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