I thought the world's smallest number is the fraction of a cent I will file off a 2017 penny with my nail file and give to the evangelists at my door wanting to convert me and get me to give them money? (I dig out my minister credentials and I never see them again, for some reason they don't try to convert ministers.)
Smallest number has to be Infinity-1 zeros to the right of a decimal ending with a 1. Or the amount of time Paul and many of the rest of us have for various 'douche-bags' as Paul eloquently puts it.
Oh no, the whole decimal versus fraction debate again I am pretty sure I got divorced over this one once.
My ex-wife was a teacher and taught 5th graders and as a joke gave me one of their tests. I took it, did it, then handed it back to which she marked most of them wrong.
As a machinist/welder we do not work in fractions, we work in decimals because fractions do not exist in the real world. So I converted all the fractions to decimals, worked it up, converted my answers back, and handed it back. I was getting results like 63/64ths and that was NOT what she wanted, she wanted 7/8ths. I claimed I was more accurate, but you can never make a convincing argument to a pregnant teacher/wife.
But it is true, you cannot cut something into thirds for instance, the best you can do is cut it as close to 1/3 as the parameters you are working with allow. In my machinist world the LIMITATIONS of our machines was .00001, but it was hardly a third, we just stopped at that point because it was as far as we could go. (Fingerprints are about .008 so after that you cannot even feel the difference lower than that)
I figured in the end if she did not know that 63/64ths was more accurate then 7/8ths she needed to go, so I kicked her to the curb...or I guess as it really is in Maine, onto the other side of the rock wall.
Travis, in first and second passes in college I was told I was a generation too late, I have the 'knack' for being a machinist. One place I did work on manufacturing line we were processing wafer substrate and I was working with tolerances of half a micron. And could do it.
There is a point though that the tolerance needed versus what you can get is to be weighed. I was taught that in the mechanical engineering shop/lab classes. Or 'how not to have the shop foreman show up with your prototype in one hand and the biggest crescent wrench he can find in the other, and force feed you both through the orifice(s) of his choice'.
If the paper was presented in fractions, I would assume to have to work it as given, with fractions. If it has decimals, use decimals. If you are in a different number base, use that. If it's metric, you're going to use that. For schoolwork, you do it as presented (overthinking my calculus was always a big mess, I FINALLY learned).
So looking at this, I might assume some of the premise was wrong, the test was overthought. Now something on the order of where one batch working on the satellite used imperial and the other metric, that should have been caught! One system per project!