The real numbers is a locally compact Tychonoff connected complete ordered topological field. I am looking at minimal collections of adjectives that can characterize the reals. The one often used to define the reals is that it is (Dedekind- or Cauchy-) complete ordered field.

Consider the real numbers among other ordered topological rings. I am wondering if the real numbers is the smallest connected ordered topological ring? Here "smallest" means that it embeds into every other connected ordered topological ring. If this is not true, do you have some minimal collection of additional adjectives (advoiding the word "complete") that can characterize the real numbers among ordered topological rings? "Minimal" means that if you drop an adjective then you there are other ordered topological rings that also fulfil your definition.

arecharacterized by being the only complete totally ordered field, any other criterion you give will have to have something with the feeling of completeness to it- I don't think you can get something from nothing, especially if the "something" is "real numbers". $\endgroup$ – Dylan Wilson Feb 9 '12 at 6:56