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Infinityplus
Plus maths
A.W. Moore

Brian Clegg

A Brief History of Infinity

The concept of infinity has challenged thinkers throughout the ages. If you are interested in the infinite, but have found it to be too challenging then you would do well to read Brian Clegg's A Brief History of Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable

The book starts with the early ideas of the Greeks such as Zeno, and goes on to look at Archimedes use of huge numbers in The Sand Reckoner. Moving on to the middle ages we see the links between religion and the infinite, and how some of Galileo's troubles were due to his ideas of infinity. Clegg goes on to discuss the development of the calculus, including the battles between Leibniz and Newton. In the nineteenth century the problems with infinitesimals were dealt with, but a new can of worms was opened with Cantor's transfinite numbers.

Note that, as the title says, this is a book on the history of infinity and so doesn't deal with the most up to date research. Non-standard analysis is mentioned, but as Clegg tells us, that subject is now over half a century old. Some might also find the book a bit slow going - it is very much aimed at those without previous knowledge. If that's what you think would suit you, or if you want to see how belief gradually moved from potential to actual infinity then you should take a look at this book.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 1841196509
Salesrank: 792103
Weight:0.53 lbs
Published: 2003 Robinson Publishing
Marketplace:New from $2.70:Used from $0.99
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 1841196509
Salesrank: 126313
Weight:0.53 lbs
Published: 2003 Robinson
Amazon price £8.99
Marketplace:New from £0.84:Used from £0.01
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Paperback 272 pages  
ISBN: 1841196509
Salesrank: 273024
Weight:0.53 lbs
Published: 2003 Robinson Publishing
Amazon price CDN$ 6.93
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 1.42:Used from CDN$ 0.01
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
'Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.' Douglas Adams, Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy We human beings have trouble with infinity - yet infinity is a surprisingly human subject. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone mad contemplating its nature and complexity - yet it is a concept routinely used by schoolchildren. Exploring the infinite is a journey into paradox. Here is a quantity that turns arithmetic on its head, making it feasible that 1 = 0. Here is a concept that enables us to cram as many extra guests as we like into an already full hotel. Most bizarrely of all, it is quite easy to show that there must be something bigger than infinity - when it surely should be the biggest thing that could possibly be. Brian Clegg takes us on a fascinating tour of that borderland between the extremely large and the ultimate that takes us from Archimedes, counting the grains of sand that would fill the universe, to the latest theories on the physical reality of the infinite. Full of unexpected delights, whether St Augustine contemplating the nature of creation, Newton and Leibniz battling over ownership of calculus, or Cantor struggling to publicise his vision of the transfinite, infinity's fascination is in the way it brings together the everyday and the extraordinary, prosaic daily life and the esoteric. Whether your interest in infinity is mathematical, philosophical, spiritual or just plain curious, this accessible book offers a stimulating and entertaining read.