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The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endlessby John D. Barrow
Synopses & Reviews
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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
A leading mathematician, cosmologist, and author of The Constants of Nature furnishes an eye-opening study of the concept of infinity, tracing the history and meaning of infinity, from ancient times to the present day, and examining the diverse permutations of the infinite and their influence on the human sense of the world around. 22,500 first printing.
An examination of Infinity — in history and science — with excursions into literature, philosophy and religion, written by one of the most successful writers of popular science.
Infinity is surely 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? Or is infinity just a label for something that is never reached, no matter how long you go on counting? Can you do an infinite number of things in a finite amount of time? Is the universe infinite?
But infinity is also the place where things happen that don’t. All manner of strange paradoxes and fantasies characterize an infinite universe. So what is it like to live in a Universe where nothing is original, where you can live forever, where anything that can be done, is done, over and over again?
These are some of the deep questions that the idea of the Infinite pushes us to ask. Throughout history, the Infinite has been a dangerous idea. Many have lost their lives, their careers, or their freedom for talking about it. The Infinite Book will take you on a tour of these dangerous questions and the strange answers that scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, and theologians have come up with to deal with its threats to our sanity.
About the Author
John Barrow is Research Professor of Mathematical Sciences in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of several bestselling books including: Theories of Everything, Impossibility, and The Book of Nothing.
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