This video begins a discussion on the role of irrationality in mathematics, starting with the "square root of 2". The difficulties with this concept go back to the ancient Greeks, as the Pythagoreans realized that the side and diagonal of a square were incommensurable. The Greeks realized that there was no rational number whose square was exactly two, a result which historically appeared in Euclid. In the modern age this idea that there were "irrational numbers" that could be incorporated into the Hindu-Arabic decimal number system was introduced by Stevin in 1585.There are these days three approaches to "sqrt(2)": an applied one dealing with approximations, an algebraic one involving a finite field extension of the rational numbers, and an analytic one which attempts to apply the square root algorithm to assign to sqrt(2) an infinite decimal. It is this last approach which does not work, leading to serious logical problems with modern analysis.This lecture is part of the MathFoundations series, which tries to lay out proper foundations for mathematics, and will not shy away from discussing the serious logical difficulties entwined in modern pure mathematics. Those who are intrigued but not fearful of the non-standard approach of this video might also like the four videos FMP19, FMP19b, FMP19c and especially FMP19d. Not for the faint hearted!
Does mathematics make logical sense? No, it does not. Foundational issues have been finessed by modern mathematicians, and this series aims to turn things around. And it will have interesting things to say also about mathematics education---especially at the primary and high school level. The plan is to start right from the beginning, and to define all the really important concepts of basic mathematics without any waffling or appeals to authority. Roughly we discuss first arithmetic, then geometry, then algebra, then analysis, then set theory. This course is aimed for a general audience, interested in mathematics, or willing to learn.