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Infinity is surely the strangest idea that humans have ever had. Where did it come from and what is it telling us about our Universe? Can there actually be infinities? Can you do an infinite number of things in a finite amount of time? Is the Universe infinite?

Infinity is also the place where things happen that don't. What is it like to live in a Universe where nothing is ...more

Infinity is also the place where things happen that don't. What is it like to live in a Universe where nothing is ...more

Paperback, 352 pages

Published
November 3rd 2005
by Vintage
(first published January 1st 2005)

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Its not a bad book at all (in fact its quite good), but its a book written by a mathematician, with the assumption that mortals readily understand the meaning of words like 'topology' and 'singularity'. The only places where the book loses its grip is where the author succumbs to this trap.

Having got that out of the way, there are a number of things I liked about this book. First an ...more

Infinity. What is it? What is it not? Why should anyone care about something so intangible?

For many people. infinity is just a word that they’ve been taught means, “without bound; forever; bigger than anything; beyond comprehension.” It’s usually associated with mathematics, especially math of a “higher order,” like Calculus. And it seems intuitively familiar despite an utter lack of understanding for the most part.

Barrow takes the everyday view of infinit ...more

The resourceful manager had begun by finding room for one extra guest in a full hotel, then a room for an infinite number of guests in a full hotel, but now he is being asked to find room for an infinite number of travel parties, each of which contains an infinite number of guests. What can he do? They will start arriving soon!After a slightly meandering opening chapter or two this book starts getting going with "Welcome To The Hotel Infinity", an introduction to Cantor's fantastic diagonal proo ...more

Infinity. How often do you think about it? I mean really think about the idea that something could go on forever? Have you thought about what the end of the universe might look like? Or whether there is a physical boundary to it? If there is a boundary, what is beyond it? More universes? Are they infinite?

What about the infinitely small? An atom’s radiation, for example, will never completely disperse, it will get smaller and smaller, halving each time while never reaching zero. This too is infi ...more

Nov 02, 2012
Nicholas
rated it
3 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
physics,
philosophy

The first half of the book concerns the evolution of mathematical theories underpining the ideas in the second half which considers the implications to the physical universe,and the possibilities that may arise.

The text is subdivided and illustrated in an abundant manner,which makes for fairly easy going and it reminded me of "Fermat's Last Theorem" or "A Brief History of Time" in its assumption of the intellect of its readership.Things did start to get mathematically taxing when he was discus ...more

The text is subdivided and illustrated in an abundant manner,which makes for fairly easy going and it reminded me of "Fermat's Last Theorem" or "A Brief History of Time" in its assumption of the intellect of its readership.Things did start to get mathematically taxing when he was discus ...more

Most of the book is written for the layman with a basic knowledge of mathematics and some in the principles of physics. But the beginning rehashes some of this, so even if your knowledge were rudimentary you'd ge ...more

Those who have a good grasp of high school maths and physics may want to check only the last four chapters.

Infinity is sometimes just an excuse to talk of other topics, mainly cosmology. A litle too much wandering around philosophical and religious issues for my taste, but nevertheless very interesting for the historical perspective. Ive enjoyed the worthy notes and references.

Very advisable lect ...more

Then things start to pick up. The author covers a vast range of topics related to infinity: paradoxes, Cantor's set theory, and the (in)finitude of the universe.

But the best part of the book is some of the ...more

Dalle concezioni e dalle idee dei filosofi dell'antichità sull'infinito il testo esamina la rivoluzione matematica ed il suo apice nelle teorie di Cantor, approfondendo la guerra fredda che i matematici hanno combattuto tra loro riguardo l'introduzione degli infiniti nella matematica.

Non mancano interi capitoli dedicati a teorie numeriche, teorie visionarie sull' ...more

It is elegant and artful.

You don't need to know any math at all to deeply appreciate the ideas that are explicated. A person just needs to have a working knowledge of plain English.

This is written at about, oh, Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level 8?

This is just a fine example of a little sumpin' for everybody.

Killer good!

Regardless, it certainly was an enjoyable and accessible read.

Apr 06, 2007
Evan Donovan
rated it
2 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
readers of popular science/math books

Shelves:
recent-reads

Not as engaging as I'd hoped. The writing is surprisingly bad in some places. I have a feeling the author was rushing when he wrote it. I did learn some interesting things from it, I just wish that they'd been presented better and that the book was better organized.

Jul 13, 2007
Peter
rated it
5 of 5 stars
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
All

Shelves:

Brilliant look at the concept of "infinity". Heady, no? The "big" infinity is nothing new, but it's the "little" infinity that blows my mind; how do you keep making smaller and smaller breaks in something? Whoa.

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John D. Barrow is a professor of mathematical sciences and director of the Millennium Mathematics Project at Cambridge University and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

He was awarded the 2006 Templeton Prize for "Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities" for his "writings about the relationship between life and the universe, and the nature of human understanding [which] have c ...more

More about John D. Barrow...
He was awarded the 2006 Templeton Prize for "Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities" for his "writings about the relationship between life and the universe, and the nature of human understanding [which] have c ...more

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