How do you prove a number, like e or pi, to be transcendental?
Asked by:
Nathan Douglass
Answer
There is no general theorem that identifies transcendental numbers to my knowledge. However, there are theorems that do so for special cases. Of these theorems, Gelfond's theorem is probably the most useful. It states: If a number 'r' is not the root of any polynomial equation with integer coefficients of any degree, then 'r' is transcendental.
Cantor proved the existence of transcendental numbers. Hermite (1873) proved that the number 'e' is transcendental. Lindemann (1882)proved that 'pi' is transcendental.
Answered by:
Vince Calder, Ph.D., Physical Chemist, retired
'After a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce in esthetics, plasticity, and form. The greatest scientists are always artists as well.'