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In this section students will:
  • Classify a real number as a natural, whole, integer, rational, or irrational number.
  • Perform calculations using order of operations.
  • Use the following properties of real numbers: commutative, associative, distributive, inverse, and identity.
  • Evaluate algebraic expressions.
  • Simplify algebraic expressions.

It is often said that mathematics is the language of science. If this is true, then an essential part of the language of mathematics is numbers. The earliest use of numbers occurred 100 centuries ago in the Middle East to count, or enumerate items. Farmers, cattlemen, and tradesmen used tokens, stones, or markers to signify a single quantity—a sheaf of grain, a head of livestock, or a fixed length of cloth, for example. Doing so made commerce possible, leading to improved communications and the spread of civilization.

Three to four thousand years ago, Egyptians introduced fractions. They first used them to show reciprocals. Later, they used them to represent the amount when a quantity was divided into equal parts.

But what if there were no cattle to trade or an entire crop of grain was lost in a flood? How could someone indicate the existence of nothing? From earliest times, people had thought of a “base state” while counting and used various symbols to represent this null condition. However, it was not until about the fifth century A.D. in India that zero was added to the number system and used as a numeral in calculations.

Clearly, there was also a need for numbers to represent loss or debt. In India, in the seventh century A.D., negative numbers were used as solutions to mathematical equations and commercial debts. The opposites of the counting numbers expanded the number system even further.

Because of the evolution of the number system, we can now perform complex calculations using these and other categories of real numbers. In this section, we will explore sets of numbers, calculations with different kinds of numbers, and the use of numbers in expressions.

Classifying a real number

The numbers we use for counting, or enumerating items, are the natural numbers    : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. We describe them in set notation as { 1 , 2 , 3 , ... } where the ellipsis (…) indicates that the numbers continue to infinity. The natural numbers are, of course, also called the counting numbers . Any time we enumerate the members of a team, count the coins in a collection, or tally the trees in a grove, we are using the set of natural numbers. The set of whole numbers    is the set of natural numbers plus zero: { 0 , 1 , 2 , 3 , ... } .

The set of integers    adds the opposites of the natural numbers to the set of whole numbers: { ... , −3 , −2 , −1 , 0 , 1 , 2 , 3 , ... } . It is useful to note that the set of integers is made up of three distinct subsets: negative integers, zero, and positive integers. In this sense, the positive integers are just the natural numbers. Another way to think about it is that the natural numbers are a subset of the integers.

, −3 , −2 , −1 , negative integers 0 , zero 1 , 2 , 3 , positive integers

Questions & Answers

June needs 45 gallons of punch. 2 different coolers. Bigger cooler is 5 times as large as smaller cooler. How many gallons in each cooler?
Arleathia Reply
find the sum of 28th term of the AP 3+10+17+---------
Prince Reply
I think you should say "28 terms" instead of "28th term"
Vedant
if sequence sn is a such that sn>0 for all n and lim sn=0than prove that lim (s1 s2............ sn) ke hole power n =n
SANDESH Reply
write down the polynomial function with root 1/3,2,-3 with solution
Gift Reply
if A and B are subspaces of V prove that (A+B)/B=A/(A-B)
Pream Reply
write down the value of each of the following in surd form a)cos(-65°) b)sin(-180°)c)tan(225°)d)tan(135°)
Oroke Reply
Prove that (sinA/1-cosA - 1-cosA/sinA) (cosA/1-sinA - 1-sinA/cosA) = 4
kiruba Reply
what is the answer to dividing negative index
Morosi Reply
In a triangle ABC prove that. (b+c)cosA+(c+a)cosB+(a+b)cisC=a+b+c.
Shivam Reply
give me the waec 2019 questions
Aaron Reply
the polar co-ordinate of the point (-1, -1)
Sumit Reply
prove the identites sin x ( 1+ tan x )+ cos x ( 1+ cot x )= sec x + cosec x
Rockstar Reply
tanh`(x-iy) =A+iB, find A and B
Pankaj Reply
B=Ai-itan(hx-hiy)
Rukmini
Give me the reciprocal of even number
Aliyu
The reciprocal of an even number is a proper fraction
Jamilu
what is the addition of 101011 with 101010
Branded Reply
If those numbers are binary, it's 1010101. If they are base 10, it's 202021.
Jack
extra power 4 minus 5 x cube + 7 x square minus 5 x + 1 equal to zero
archana Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Algebra and trigonometry. OpenStax CNX. Nov 14, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11758/1.6
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