To Infinity and beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite

To Infinity and beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite

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by Eli Maor
     
 

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The infinite! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite. . . - David Hilbert (1862-1943) Infinity is a fathomless gulf, There is a story attributed to David Hilbert, the preeminent mathe­ into

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The infinite! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite. . . - David Hilbert (1862-1943) Infinity is a fathomless gulf, There is a story attributed to David Hilbert, the preeminent mathe­ into which all things matician whose quotation appears above. A man walked into a vanish. hotel late one night and asked for a room. "Sorry, we don't have o Marcus Aurelius (121- 180), Roman Emperor any more vacancies," replied the owner, "but let's see, perhaps and philosopher I can find you a room after alL" Leaving his desk, the owner reluctantly awakened his guests and asked them to change their rooms: the occupant of room #1 would move to room #2, the occupant of room #2 would move to room #3, and so on until each occupant had moved one room over. To the utter astonish­ ment of our latecomer, room #1 suddenly became vacated, and he happily moved in and settled down for the night. But a numbing thought kept him from sleep: How could it be that by merely moving the occupants from one room to another, the first room had become vacated? (Remember, all of the rooms were occupied when he arrived.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780817633257
Publisher:
Birkhauser Verlag
Publication date:
01/28/1986
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
0.00(w) x 0.00(h) x 0.03(d)

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To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
This book is a bit of a challenge if you are rusty of math but Maor does a good job of presenting the material with interesting footnotes (mostly historical in nature) and proofs in the appendix. He addresses infinity in several categories: mathematical, geometry, art, and cosmology. The first two sections are basic background for the latter two. There is a whole chapter on M. C. Escher. This is an accessible and interesting treatment of the topic. Highly recommended for those interested in infinity and the historical, philosophical, and cultural connections.