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John Barrow

The Infinite Book

The infinite can be an intimidating concept. In 'The infinite book' John Barrow takes a lighthearted look at the nature of infinity. He starts with the early objections to the concept - Zeno's paradox and the writings of Aristotle - and moves on to the work of Georg Cantor, when infinity became respectable. The book goes on to look at what it means for the universe to be infinite in space or time. Barrow demonstrates the paradoxes or infinite replication which would occur if either of these were the case , but also shows how they could explain why the part of the universe we live in seems to be so favourable for the emergence of life.

The final chapter of the book concerns the eternal life, looking at both the possibility of extending our lifes forever in this world, and the question of an afterlife. But would we know what to do with eternal life if we had it?

So who should read this book? Well I felt it was written for a general readership - no previous knowledge is required. However, Barrow does tend to jump from one subject to another, and I think that this might be confusing for those who don't recognise what he is discussing. Hence I would recommend it to those who have had at least a little previous exposure to the subjects covered.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews