In this post I will discuss the solution of the problem I posted a week ago. Firstly I would thank Prof. Purusottam Rath for pointing out that this problem has already been solved. In 1961, Kurt Mahler published the solution in Lectures on Diophantine Approximations. In fact, is called Mahler’s number since Mahler showed it to be transcendental. For complete proof refer, Section 1.6 of “Making transcendence transparent: an intuitive approach to classical transcendental number theory“, by Edward Burger and Robert Tubbs, Springer-Verlag (2004). But I can give an outline of proof here.
The most basic type of transcendental numbers are the Liouville’s Numbers, these numbers satisfy following theorem (proved here on pp. 19):
Liouville’s Theorem: Let be a real number . Suppose there exists an infinite sequence of rational numbers satisfying the inequality . Then is transcendental.
To be able to apply this theorem we use truncation procedure i.e. obtain the approximations of the number by truncating the decimal expansion of immediately before each long run of zeros, and using this to get the desired inequality.
For Mahler number, Liouville’s theorem alone is not sufficient. Since, if we attempt truncation procedure, we will see that the number of decimal digits before each run of zeros far exceeds the length of the run. For example, a run of 2 zeros occurs after 189 digits. But, using Liouville’s theorem we can prove a partial result:
(1) There exists an infinite sequence of rational numbers satisfying the inequality . Hence, Mahler number is either a transcendental number or an algebraic number of degree at least 5.
Since we need a stronger inequality, we will use following theorem (proved here on pp. 54), which states that:
Thue-Seigel-Roth Theorem: Let be an irrational algebraic number. Then for any there exists a constant depending on such that
From this theorem we conclude that
(2) If is algebraic of degree (I showed in previous post that it is irrational) then for there exists a constant such that for all ,
Using (1) and (2) we conclude that for all ,
But as , this inequality cannot hold. Hence is transcendental.
This number, is also known as Champernowne’s constant. I shall discuss more about it in future posts.