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A Brief History of Infinity
In A Brief History of Infinity, the infinite in all its forms - viewed from the perspective of mathematicians, philosophers, and theologians - is explored, as Zellini strives to explain this fundamental principle. What is the difference between trueand false infinity? How might we explain away the puzzle of Zeno's paradox? And how is the concept of infinity helping us as w ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published December 28th 2005 by Penguin Global
(first published 1980)
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The book is mainly a philosophical tour in the concept of the infinity from the ancient Greeks to Cantor and little bit beyond. The story is really well written and documented, it should be a must reading for all students of high school at their last year. There are a lot of connections between philosophy and history, literature and mathematics. You can not find many, roughly zero, mathematical insight even if the author is a mathematician. Something that I missed at the end is a clearer vision ...more
Sep 22, 2012 Adam rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Zellini is a mathematician, but A Brief History of Infinity is as focused on the development of infinity as a philosophical, psychological, and spiritual concept as a mathematical one. Zellini begins admirably by quoting Borges, who is near to my heart, and covers the infinite from classical antiquity to the present. He lays out the history of infinity from the horror of the Pythagoreans to Aquinas' transfiguration of the infinite into the most godly of qualities, to the Enlightenment and contem ...more
Zellini provides and accessible but critical overview on the 'history' of infinity, that utilises arguments from Mathematics, Philosophy, Theologians, and literature. This makes the book much more than a simple analysis of numbers. It is full of thoughts, that while attempting to navigate the notion of the infinite, suggest larger, profoundly political, dimension.
A great overview of the concept of infinity throughout the ages. Tons of lovely math tricks and a lot of biographical information on famous mathematicians and physicists. Also a lot about the development of calculus, which is particularily interesting.