[R] extract all numbers from a string

Nick Matzke matzke at berkeley.edu
Sun Jun 16 07:06:43 CEST 2013

Hi all,

I have been beating my head against this problem for a bit, 
but I can't figure it out.

I have a series of strings of variable length, and each will 
have one or more numbers, of varying format.  E.g., I might 

tmpstr = "The first number is: 32.  Another one is: 32.1. 
Here's a number in scientific format, 0.3523e10, and 
another, 0.3523e-10, and a negative, -313.1"

How could I get R to just give me a list of numerics 
containing the numbers therein?

Thanks very much to the regexp wizards!


Nicholas J. Matzke
Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate Student Researcher

Huelsenbeck Lab
Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genomics
4151 VLSB (Valley Life Sciences Building)
Department of Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley

Graduate Student Instructor, IB200B
Principles of Phylogenetics: Ecology and Evolution

Lab websites:
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Cell phone: 510-301-0179
Email: matzke at berkeley.edu

Mailing address:
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1005 Valley Life Sciences Building #3140
Berkeley, CA 94720-3140

"[W]hen people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. 
When people thought the earth was spherical, they were 
wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical 
is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your 
view is wronger than both of them put together."

Isaac Asimov (1989). "The Relativity of Wrong." The 
Skeptical Inquirer, 14(1), 35-44. Fall 1989.

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