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Review - [A Brief History of] Infinity - Brian Clegg

 

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Welcome to the world of Infinity.

We human beings have trouble with infinity. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone mad contemplating its nature and complexity - and yet it is a concept now routinely used by schoolchildren. In this highly entertaining and stimulating history, Brian Clegg takes us on a tour of that borderland between the extremely large and the ultimate, from Archimedes counting the grains of sand that would fill the universe, to the latest theories on the physical reality of the infinite.

Full of unexpected delights, the history of infinity proves to be a surprisingly human subject. Whether it's St Augustine contemplating the nature of creation, Newton and Leibniz battling over the ownership of calculus or Cantor's struggle to publicize his vision of the transfinite, infinity's fascination remains the way it brings together the everyday and the extraordinary, prosaic daily life and the esoteric. Exploring the infinite is nothing more than a journey into paradox.

Although infinity is touched on in many places, as far as we are aware this is the only popular exploration of infinity around - and well worth getting hold of.

Only in paperback.

Reviewed by Peter Spitz

Find out more about this book including published reviews at the author's site

Please note, this title is written by the editor of the Popular Science website. Our review is still an honest opinion - and we could hardly omit the book - but do want to make the connection clear.

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Last update 16 April 2011