Analysis Of Climatic Data

# Misunderstanding regarding numbers

Numbers are often misunderstood. Numbers, when considered as originating from counting …. 1, 2, 3, …., often give the impression that the "interval" from any one number to its immediate neighbour is the same anywhere on the number line. The interval is internalized by us humans as some kind of "distance".

This is easily understood: 3 is exactly at a distance of 1 from 2. Or 45 is exactly a distance of 1 before 46, and so on and so forth. What we often fail to realize is that numbers are actually abstract concepts and hence this perception of equality also ought to be abstract.

Which means there are only a few real world situations where one can apply numbers in the above sense of equality of intervals. Maybe, in architecture; the risers of a properly made staircase can be fittingly described using numbers as far as the property of equality between one number with respect to its immediate neighbour is concerned.

# Numbers used in measurements

The digits 0 to 9 are actually just symbols, and much of mathematics is based on axioms (assumptions that are not questioned) around those symbols. We need *not* regard the "equality" between one number and its neighbour, as something that is sacrosanct.

Why so?

When we analyze any piece of information (as opposed to synthesize), one of the activities we do is measure. Any measurement yields its results using numbers. The aforementioned misunderstanding of "equality" also affects our perception of the results of the measurement.

page revision: 3, last edited: 12 Jul 2007 09:42