In Search of Infinity / Edition 1

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Overview

The concept of infinity has been for hundreds of years one of the most fascinating and elusive ideas to tantalize the minds of scholars and lay people alike. The theory of infinite sets lies at the heart of much of mathematics, yet is has produced a series of paradoxes that have led many scholars to doubt the soundness of it foundations. The author of this book presents a popular-level account of the roads followed by human thought in attempts to understand the idea of the infinite in mathematics and physics. In doing so, he brings to the general reader a deep insight into the nature of the problem and its importance to an understanding of our world.

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Editorial Reviews

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

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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817638191
  • Publisher: Birkhauser Verlag
  • Publication date: 8/11/1995
  • Edition description: 1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 145
  • Product dimensions: 0.50 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Table of Contents

1. Infinity and the universe.- 2. The mysteries of infinite sets.- 3. Remarkable functions and curves, or a stroll through a mathematical hall of wonders.- 4. In search of the absolute.- Conclusion.- Notees.

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