Zero’s Next-Door Neighbor: Imagining the Existence of the Smallest Number, the Largest Number, and the Superlative Number System

| August 11, 2018

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ZERO’S NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR

Trying to answer What if…? questions can be fun and thought-provoking. What if the moon was made of cheese? Or made of chocolate? What if you just won a million dollars? Or try this one on for size. What if there existed a smallest number?

This short book poses that very question, offering a few imaginative answers along the way. Whether they are mathematically valid answers is another story. And while in the process of What iffing the existence of this smallest number named alpha, the ensuing train of thought arrives at the conclusion that a largest number, dubbed K, must therefore exist, too.

Here is where infinity hits a brick wall, yet an aspect of infinity thrives and courses through this new category of numbers called superlatives. Here, also, is where all of these new numbers live shoulder-to-shoulder, and where, perhaps, irrationals like pi and the square root of 2 may not have a home in their current forms.

Thomas J. Prestopnik has next to no qualifications for writing a book about mathematics except for his innate desire to think, dream and be curious.

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