In mathematics, the surreal number system is a totally ordered proper class containing the real numbers as well as infinite and infinitesimal numbers, respectively larger or smaller in absolute value than any positive real number. The surreals share many properties with the reals, including the usual arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division); as such, they form an ordered field.[a] If formulated in Von Neumann–Bernays–Gödel set theory, the surreal numbers are a universal ordered field in the sense that all other ordered fields, such as the rationals, the reals, the rational functions, the Levi-Civita field, the superreal numbers, and the hyperreal numbers, can be realized as subfields of the surreals. The surreals also contain all transfinite ordinal numbers; the arithmetic on them is given by the natural operations. It has also been shown (in Von Neumann–Bernays–Gödel set theory) that the maximal class hyperreal field is isomorphic to the maximal class surreal field; in theories without the axiom of global choice, this need not be the case, and in such theories it is not necessarily true that the surreals are a universal ordered field.
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