CARMA Colloquium

4:00 pm

Thursday, 4th Apr 2019

SR202, SR Building

Professor Yann Bugeaud

(Mathématiques , Université de Strasbourg)

On the decimal expansion of $\log (2019/2018)$ and $e$

It is commonly expected that $e$, $\log 2$, $\sqrt{2}$, among other « classical » numbers, behave, in many respects, like almost all real numbers. For instance, their decimal expansion should contain every finite block of digits from $\{0, \ldots , 9\}$. We are very far away from establishing such a strong assertion. However, there has been some small recent progress in that direction. Let $\xi$ be an irrational real number. Its irrationality exponent, denoted by $\mu (\xi)$, is the supremum of the real numbers $\mu$ for which there are infinitely many integer pairs $(p, q)$ such that $|\xi - \frac{p}{q}| < q^{-\mu}$. It measures the quality of approximation to $\xi$ by rationals. We always have $\mu (\xi) \ge 2$, with equality for almost all real numbers and for irrational algebraic numbers (by Roth's theorem). We prove that, if the irrationality exponent of $\xi$ is equal to $2$ or slightly greater than $2$, then the decimal expansion of $\xi$ cannot be `too simple', in a suitable sense. Our result applies, among other classical numbers, to badly approximable numbers, non-zero rational powers of ${{\rm e}}$, and $\log (1 + \frac{1}{a})$, provided that the integer $a$ is sufficiently large. It establishes an unexpected connection between the irrationality exponent of a real number and its decimal expansion.