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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.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 328 pages  
ISBN: 1400032245
Salesrank: 919820
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 2006 Vintage
Amazon price $17.22
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 352 pages  
ISBN: 0099443724
Salesrank: 119607
Weight:0.62 lbs
Published: 2005 Vintage
Amazon price £7.98
Marketplace:New from £4.93:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback
ISBN: 1400032245
Salesrank: 4085645
Weight:0.4 lbs
Published: 1707 Vintage
Amazon price CDN$ 21.15
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 21.15:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description
For a thousand years, infinity has proven to be a difficult and illuminating challenge for mathematicians and theologians. It certainly is the strangest idea that humans have ever thought. Where did it come from and what is it telling us about our Universe? Can there actually be infinities? Is matter infinitely divisible into ever-smaller pieces? But infinity is also the place where things happen that don't. All manner of strange paradoxes and fantasies characterize an infinite universe. If our Universe is infinite then an infinite number of exact copies of you are, at this very moment, reading an identical sentence on an identical planet somewhere else in the Universe.

Now Infinity is the darling of cutting edge research, the measuring stick used by physicists, cosmologists, and mathematicians to determine the accuracy of their theories. From the paradox of Zeno’s arrow to string theory, Cambridge professor John Barrow takes us on a grand tour of this most elusive of ideas and describes with clarifying subtlety how this subject has shaped, and continues to shape, our very sense of the world in which we live. The Infinite Book is a thoroughly entertaining and completely accessible account of the biggest subject of them all–infinity.