# The recurring decimal

Kewpie
Posers and Puzzles 10 Dec '11 11:55
1. Kewpie
since 1-Feb-07
10 Dec '11 11:55
I can't even do high school maths, but this one always bothered me.

1/9 equals 0.11111111111111111 forever
2/9 equals 0.22222222222222222 forever
3/9 equals 0.33333333333333333 forever
...
9/9 must equal 0.9999999999999999 forever

But 9/9 equals 1 ! How is this so?
2. 10 Dec '11 16:00
Originally posted by Kewpie
I can't even do high school maths, but this one always bothered me.

1/9 equals 0.11111111111111111 forever
2/9 equals 0.22222222222222222 forever
3/9 equals 0.33333333333333333 forever
...
9/9 must equal 0.9999999999999999 forever

But 9/9 equals 1 ! How is this so?
x = 0.999999999

10x = 9.99999999

10x - x = 9x = 9.9999999 - 0.999999999 = 9

so
9x = 9

x = 1

9/9 = 0.9999999999999 = 1
3. 11 Dec '11 11:451 edit
Originally posted by iamatiger
x = 0.999999999

10x = 9.99999999

10x - x = 9x = 9.9999999 - 0.999999999 = 9

so
9x = 9

x = 1

9/9 = 0.9999999999999 = 1
?

sorry

x = 0.999999999

10x = 9.99999999

10x - x = 9x = 9.9999999 - 0.999999999 = 8.99999991 which is not 9.

Or what?

Just to say that the infinite recurrence of the 9's is the crucial point.
4. forkedknight
Defend the Universe
11 Dec '11 16:04
Originally posted by Mephisto2

10x - x = 9x = 9.9999999 - 0.999999999 = 8.99999991 which is not 9.

Or what?

Just to say that the infinite recurrence of the 9's is the crucial point.
Using what math does

9.999... - 0.999... = 8.99999999991

?
5. 11 Dec '11 18:301 edit
Originally posted by forkedknight
Using what math does

9.999... - 0.999... = 8.99999999991
because in Iamatiger's answer, there were no '.....' after the 9's. Try it on your calculator.
?
because in Iamatiger's answer, there were no '.....' after the 9's.
6. 11 Dec '11 19:57
I couldn't get a 9 with a dot over it, which is how I would usually write "recurring". I assumed everybody would know what I meant, and I suspect even the quibblers did know actually!
7. smw6869
Granny
11 Dec '11 22:51
Originally posted by Kewpie
I can't even do high school maths, but this one always bothered me.

1/9 equals 0.11111111111111111 forever
2/9 equals 0.22222222222222222 forever
3/9 equals 0.33333333333333333 forever
...
9/9 must equal 0.9999999999999999 forever

But 9/9 equals 1 ! How is this so?
I remember this from High School: Any number divided by itself equals 1. Case closed. Them's the rules.

GRANNY.
8. Kewpie
since 1-Feb-07
11 Dec '11 23:04
The way I understood it, any recurring digit approaches the next whole number but can never quite reach it, so 0.9 recurring can never quite equal 1. That makes the thing paradoxical to me. Perhaps the problem is at the other end: maybe 1/9 doesn't really equal 0.1 recurring, perhaps it's just "near enough". And that minuscule difference is always there but ignored by everybody.
9. 12 Dec '11 19:38
Originally posted by Kewpie
The way I understood it, any recurring digit approaches the next whole number but can never quite reach it, so 0.9 recurring can never quite equal 1.
Then you understood it wrong. 0.9 recurring is, in fact, quite equal to 1.

Richard
10. Kewpie
since 1-Feb-07
12 Dec '11 20:35
It seems to me that there's a circular argument here. I say 0.9 recurring tends to 1 but can never equal 1. You say 0.9 does equal one. Any proof using fractions doesn't make it so, because recurring numbers aren't able to be resolved this side of infinity.

We aren't the only ones having this discussion:

http://forum.boagworld.com/discussion/596/is-0.9-recurring-equal-to-one-the-big-debate/p1
11. 12 Dec '11 20:39
There are (at least) two ways of representing 1/9
1/9 and 0.1111111111(1), these are exactly equal

Similarly for 2/9 = 0.22222222(2), 3/9, 4/9 etc

So 9.9 is not an oddity. if you say that 0.99999(9) <> 9/9 then you are also claiming that 0.11111111(1) /= 1/9

Another looking at it is the power of infinity, as we add more 9s to the end of 0.9 we are 1/10^n away from 9/9, and n increases with each 9 we add

In the limit, we are 1/n^(infinity) away from 9/9 and 1/infinity = 0
12. forkedknight
Defend the Universe
12 Dec '11 21:311 edit
Originally posted by iamatiger

In the limit, we are 1/n^(infinity) away from 9/9 and 1/infinity = 0
So long as we are nit-picking

1/infinity is not equal to 0. Infinity is not a number and cannot be used as a number in an equation. Several laws of mathematics break down if you attempt this.

It is correct to say that

1/n as n->infinity approaches 0
13. talzamir
Art, not a Toil
13 Dec '11 11:06
One way to think of it, of course, is as a sum of 0.9 x 10^(-n) where n gets the values 1, 2, 3, ..., that is 0.9 + 0.09 + 0.009 + ...

Wonder if it is more convincing to ask how much 0.9999... differs from 1?

And that would be by 0.00000000.....

so.. not by very much.

While on the topic of sums... can you evaluate

1 - 1/2 + 1/3 - 1/4 + 1/5 - ..... + (-1)^n / n + ... ?
14. joe shmo
Strange Egg
13 Dec '11 23:313 edits
Originally posted by talzamir
One way to think of it, of course, is as a sum of 0.9 x 10^(-n) where n gets the values 1, 2, 3, ..., that is 0.9 + 0.09 + 0.009 + ...

Wonder if it is more convincing to ask how much 0.9999... differs from 1?

And that would be by 0.00000000.....

so.. not by very much.

While on the topic of sums... can you evaluate

1 - 1/2 + 1/3 - 1/4 + 1/5 - ..... + (-1)^n / n + ... ?
I think its the golden ratio, which in this case

= -(1- Sqrt(5))/2

and wouldn't the n th term be

((-1)^(n+1))/n
15. 14 Dec '11 14:10
Originally posted by Shallow Blue
Then you understood it wrong. 0.9 recurring is, in fact, quite equal to 1.

Richard
I think you're right, but didn't explain it in a more simplistic way.

A picturing point of view is for repetitive halfs which could be endless, and yet we know there is an end.

Consider the analogy of throwing a stone into the air. We know to come down, it must come half way as high as it went. It must come half way again, and then half of that distance again. Each half distance it travels has to go on and on, and it is always travelling half way.

Of course, we hear the sound of the stone hitting the floor or rock upon which it lands and so, therefore, this infinite half way argument is flawed, same as 0.9 recurring doesn't = 1.

-m. ðŸ˜‰