In Search of Infinity

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While the theory of infinite sets lies at the heart of much of mathematics, it has produced a series of paradoxes that have led many scholars to doubt the soundness of its foundations. In Search of Infinity presents a popular account of the roads explored by human thought in an attempt to understand the idea of the infinite in mathematics and physics.
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Overview

While the theory of infinite sets lies at the heart of much of mathematics, it has produced a series of paradoxes that have led many scholars to doubt the soundness of its foundations. In Search of Infinity presents a popular account of the roads explored by human thought in an attempt to understand the idea of the infinite in mathematics and physics.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
For non-specialists and lay readers comfortable with mathematical thinking, outlines the importance of infinity in human thought since records began, then traces efforts since the 19th century to understand and represent infinity in mathematics and physics. Primarily concerned with the paradoxes generated by the theory of infinite sets that lie at the heart of most mathematics, and the intellectual writhing to come to terms with them. Translated from the second Russian edition of V poiskakh beskonechnosti, which was first published about 20 years ago. No index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"In fewer than 150 pages Vilenkin has packed a whole course on infinity: its history, philosophy, and mathematical theory. Abe Shenitzer's translation is very smooth and natural... When fractals have gone out of style, and chaos is no longer the flavor of the month, some kind of 'geometric set theory' or 'set-theoretic geometry' may very well remain, and In Search of Infinity may still be the best introduction to it."

—American Mathematical Monthly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9783764338190
  • Publisher: Birkhauser Verlag
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Pages: 152

Table of Contents

Introduction
Ch. 1 Infinity and the universe 1
Ch. 2 The mysteries of infinite sets 33
Ch. 3 Remarkable functions and curves, or a stroll through a mathematical hall of wonders 71
Ch. 4 In search of the absolute 117
Conclusion 134
Notes 137
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