Download PDF by Isaac Asimov: Adding a Dimension

By Isaac Asimov

ISBN-10: 0234778741

ISBN-13: 9780234778746

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No more; no less. If we pass on to equations of the second degree, we find that the Greeks would agree with us that the equation x2 — 5x + 6 = 0 has two solutions, 2 and 3. They would say, however, that the equation x2 + 4x — 5 = 0 has only one solution, 1. Substitute 1 for x and x2 is 1, while 4x is 4, so that the equation becomes 1 + 4 — 5 = 0. No other number will serve as a solution, as long as you restrict yourself to positive numbers. However, the number —5 is a solution, if we consider a few rules that are worked out in connection with the multiplication of negative numbers.

But mainly it reminds me that I want to write an essay on the metric system. In order to do so, I want to begin by explaining that the value of the system does not lie in the actual size of the basic units. Its worth is this: that it is a logical system. The units are sensibly interrelated. All other sets of measurements with which I am acquainted use separate names for each unit involving a particular type of quantity. In distance, we ourselves have miles, feet, inches, rods, furlongs, and so on.

But it is simple to get a line that is TT times the radius. According to a well-known formula, the circumference of the circle is equal in length to twice the radius times TT. So let us imagine the circle resting on a straight line and let's make a little mark at the point where the circle just touches the line. Now slowly turn the circle so that it moves along the line (without slipping) until the point you have marked makes a complete circuit and once again touches the line. Make another mark where it again touches.

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Adding a Dimension by Isaac Asimov


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