Search Results: brief-history-of-infinity-the-quest-to-think-the-unthinkable

A Brief History of Infinity

The Quest to Think the Unthinkable

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Robinson

ISBN: 1472107640

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 7672

'Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.' Douglas Adams, Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy We human beings have trouble with infinity - yet infinity is a surprisingly human subject. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone mad contemplating its nature and complexity - yet it is a concept routinely used by schoolchildren. Exploring the infinite is a journey into paradox. Here is a quantity that turns arithmetic on its head, making it feasible that 1 = 0. Here is a concept that enables us to cram as many extra guests as we like into an already full hotel. Most bizarrely of all, it is quite easy to show that there must be something bigger than infinity - when it surely should be the biggest thing that could possibly be. Brian Clegg takes us on a fascinating tour of that borderland between the extremely large and the ultimate that takes us 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, whether St Augustine contemplating the nature of creation, Newton and Leibniz battling over ownership of calculus, or Cantor struggling to publicise his vision of the transfinite, infinity's fascination is in the way it brings together the everyday and the extraordinary, prosaic daily life and the esoteric. Whether your interest in infinity is mathematical, philosophical, spiritual or just plain curious, this accessible book offers a stimulating and entertaining read.

A Brief History of Infinity

The Quest to Think the Unthinkable

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Hachette UK

ISBN: 1472107640

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 7661

'Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.' Douglas Adams, Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy We human beings have trouble with infinity - yet infinity is a surprisingly human subject. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone mad contemplating its nature and complexity - yet it is a concept routinely used by schoolchildren. Exploring the infinite is a journey into paradox. Here is a quantity that turns arithmetic on its head, making it feasible that 1 = 0. Here is a concept that enables us to cram as many extra guests as we like into an already full hotel. Most bizarrely of all, it is quite easy to show that there must be something bigger than infinity - when it surely should be the biggest thing that could possibly be. Brian Clegg takes us on a fascinating tour of that borderland between the extremely large and the ultimate that takes us 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, whether St Augustine contemplating the nature of creation, Newton and Leibniz battling over ownership of calculus, or Cantor struggling to publicise his vision of the transfinite, infinity's fascination is in the way it brings together the everyday and the extraordinary, prosaic daily life and the esoteric. Whether your interest in infinity is mathematical, philosophical, spiritual or just plain curious, this accessible book offers a stimulating and entertaining read.

A Brief History of Infinity

The Quest to Think the Unthinkable

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Robinson Publishing

ISBN: 9781841196503

Category: Infinite

Page: 255

View: 9869

Infinity is a concept that fascinates everyone from a seven-year-old child to a maths professor. An exploration of the most mind-boggling feature of maths and physics, this work examines amazing paradoxes and looks at many features of this fascinating concept.

A Brief History of Infinity

Author: Paolo Zellini

Publisher: Penguin Global

ISBN: 9780141007625

Category: Mathematics

Page: 199

View: 1948

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 we wrestle with the fundamental uncertainties of the quantum world? Paolo Zellini shows that the concept of the infinite is a multifaceted one, and eloquently demonstrates the manner in which humanity has attempted to comprehend that concept for millenia.

To Infinity and Beyond

A Cultural History of the Infinite

Author: Eli Maor

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 1461253942

Category: Mathematics

Page: 284

View: 4468

The infinite! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite. . . - David Hilbert (1862-1943) Infinity is a fathomless gulf, There is a story attributed to David Hilbert, the preeminent mathe into which all things matician whose quotation appears above. A man walked into a vanish. hotel late one night and asked for a room. "Sorry, we don't have o Marcus Aurelius (121- 180), Roman Emperor any more vacancies," replied the owner, "but let's see, perhaps and philosopher I can find you a room after alL" Leaving his desk, the owner reluctantly awakened his guests and asked them to change their rooms: the occupant of room #1 would move to room #2, the occupant of room #2 would move to room #3, and so on until each occupant had moved one room over. To the utter astonish ment of our latecomer, room #1 suddenly became vacated, and he happily moved in and settled down for the night. But a numbing thought kept him from sleep: How could it be that by merely moving the occupants from one room to another, the first room had become vacated? (Remember, all of the rooms were occupied when he arrived.

Are Numbers Real?

The Uncanny Relationship of Mathematics and the Physical World

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 146689296X

Category: Mathematics

Page: 288

View: 6674

Have you ever wondered what humans did before numbers existed? How they organized their lives, traded goods, or kept track of their treasures? What would your life be like without them? Numbers began as simple representations of everyday things, but mathematics rapidly took on a life of its own, occupying a parallel virtual world. In Are Numbers Real?, Brian Clegg explores the way that math has become more and more detached from reality, and yet despite this is driving the development of modern physics. From devising a new counting system based on goats, through the weird and wonderful mathematics of imaginary numbers and infinity, to the debate over whether mathematics has too much influence on the direction of science, this fascinating and accessible book opens the reader’s eyes to the hidden reality of the strange yet familiar entities that are numbers.

A History of [pi] (pi)

Author: Petr Beckmann

Publisher: Barnes & Noble Publishing

ISBN: 9780880294188

Category: Mathematics

Page: 200

View: 7370

Documents the calculation, numerical value, and use of the ratio from 2000 B.C. to the modern computer age, detailing social conditions in eras when progress was made.

The Unfinished Game

Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter That Made the World Modern

Author: Keith Devlin,Keith J. Devlin

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 0465018963

Category: Mathematics

Page: 191

View: 9642

Examines a letter written by Blaise Pascal to Pierre de Fermat in 1654 that speaks of probability and numerical values that have had an impact on the modern world with regard to calculating insurance rates, the housing markets, and car safety.

Roger Bacon

The First Scientist

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Constable

ISBN: 1472112121

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 160

View: 7843

Back in thirteenth-century Europe, in the early years of the great universities, learning was spiced with the danger of mob violence and a terrifyingly repressive religious censorship. Roger Bacon, a humble and devout English friar, seems an unlikely figure to challenge the orthodoxy of his day - yet he risked his life to establish the basis for true knowledge. Born c.1220, Bacon was passionately interested in the natural world and how things worked. Such dangerous topics were vetoed by his Order, and it was only when a new Pope proved sympathetic that he began compiling his encyclopaedia on everything from optics to alchemy - the synopsis took a year and ran to 800,000 words and he was never to complete the work itself. Sadly, the enlightened Pope died, and Bacon was tried as a magician and incarcerated for ten years. Legend transformed Bacon into a sorcerer, 'Doctor Mirabilis', yet he taught that all magic was based on fraud, and his books were the first flowering of the scientific thinking that would transform our world. He advanced the understanding of optics, made geographical breakthroughs later used by Columbus, predicted everything from horseless carriages to the telescope, and stressed the importance of mathematics to science, a significance ignored for 400 years. His biggest contribution was to insist that a study of the natural world by observation and exact measurement was the surest foundation for truth. Clegg uncovers the realities of life in a medieval university and friary, setting out the shadowy facts of Bacon's life alongside his writings. The result is both a fascinating biography and a picture of the age.

The Reality Frame

Relativity and our place in the universe

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Icon Books

ISBN: 1785782142

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 2053

Weaving together the great ideas of science, The Reality Frame takes us on a thrilling journey from empty space all the way to the human mind. Acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg builds up reality piece by piece, from space, to time, to matter, movement, the fundamental forces, life, and the massive transformation that life itself has wrought on the natural world. He reveals that underlying it all is not, as we might believe, a system of immovable absolutes, but the ever-shifting, amorphous world of relativity. From religion to philosophy, humanity has traditionally sought out absolutes to explain the world around us, but as science has developed, relativity has swept away many of these certainties, leaving only a handful of unchangeable essentials – such as absolute zero, nothingness, light – leading to better science and a new understanding of the essence of being human. This is an Ascent of Man for the 21st century, the gripping story of modern science that will fill you with wonder and give you a new insight into our place in the universe.

Dice World

Science and Life in a Random Universe

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Icon Books Ltd

ISBN: 1848315643

Category: Science

Page: 288

View: 1992

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2014 WINTON ROYAL SOCIETY PRIZE FOR SCIENCE BOOKS As troubling as we pattern-seeking humans may find it, modern science has repeatedly shown us that randomness is the underlying heartbeat of nature. In Dice World, acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg takes readers on an incredible trip around our random universe, uncovering the truths and lies behind probability and statistics, explaining how chaotic intervention is behind every great success in business, and demonstrating the possibilities quantum mechanics has given us for creating unbreakable ciphers and undergoing teleportation. He explores how the ‘clockwork universe’ imagined by Newton, in which everything could be predicted given enough data, was disproved bit by bit, to be supplanted by chaos theory and quantum physics. Clegg reveals a world in which not only is accurate forecasting often impossible but probability is the only way for us to understand the fundamental nature of things. Forget the clockwork universe. Welcome to Dice World, a unique portrait of a startlingly complex cosmos, from the bizarre microscopic world of the quantum to the unfathomable mechanics of planetary movements, where very little is as it seems...

Inflight Science

A Guide to the World from Your Airplane Window

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Icon Books Ltd

ISBN: 1848312806

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 1870

The perfect companion to any flight - a guide to the science on view from your window seat. There are few times when science is so immediate as when you're in a plane. Your life is in the hands of the scientists and engineers who enable tons of metal and plastic to hurtle through the sky at hundreds of miles an hour. Inflight Science shows how you stay alive up there - but that's only the beginning. Brian Clegg explains the ever changing view, whether it's crop circles or clouds, mountains or river deltas, and describes simple experiments to show how a wing provides lift, or what happens if you try to open a door in midair (don't!). On a plane you'll experience the impact of relativity, the power of natural radiation and the effect of altitude on the boiling point of tea. Among the many things you'll learn is why the sky is blue, the cause of thunderstorms and the impact of volcanic ash in an enjoyable tour of mid-air science. Every moment of your journey is an opportunity to experience science in action: Inflight Science will be your guide.

The Mathematical Century

The 30 Greatest Problems of the Last 100 Years

Author: Piergiorgio Odifreddi

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9780691128054

Category: Mathematics

Page: 204

View: 2280

The twentieth century was a time of unprecedented development in mathematics, as well as in all sciences: more theorems were proved and results found in a hundred years than in all of previous history. In The Mathematical Century, Piergiorgio Odifreddi distills this unwieldy mass of knowledge into a fascinating and authoritative overview of the subject. He concentrates on thirty highlights of pure and applied mathematics. Each tells the story of an exciting problem, from its historical origins to its modern solution, in lively prose free of technical details. Odifreddi opens by discussing the four main philosophical foundations of mathematics of the nineteenth century and ends by describing the four most important open mathematical problems of the twenty-first century. In presenting the thirty problems at the heart of the book he devotes equal attention to pure and applied mathematics, with applications ranging from physics and computer science to biology and economics. Special attention is dedicated to the famous "23 problems" outlined by David Hilbert in his address to the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1900 as a research program for the new century, and to the work of the winners of the Fields Medal, the equivalent of a Nobel prize in mathematics. This eminently readable book will be treasured not only by students and their teachers but also by all those who seek to make sense of the elusive macrocosm of twentieth-century mathematics.

Cracking Quantum Physics

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Cassell

ISBN: 1844039773

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 2374

Enter the invisible world of sub-atomic physics and discover the very core of existence. Cracking Quantum Physics takes you through every area of particle physics to clearly explain how our world was, and is, created, and breaks down the most complex theories into easily understandable elements. Subjects covered include: -Time travel -The Higgs field -Dark Matter -The anatomy of the elements -Enter the atom -Quantum reality -Quantum tunnelling -Electrodynamics -Accelerators and colliders -The Zeno effect An easy-to-understand guide to some of the most complex and intriguing topics: Cracking Quantum Physics is a must-read for anyone who has ever wondered about the underlying forces and materials that make up the world as we know it.

Final Frontier

The Pioneering Science and Technology of Exploring the Universe

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1250039444

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 4759

Star Trek was right — there is only one final frontier, and that is space... Human beings are natural explorers, and nowhere is this frontier spirit stronger than in the United States of America. It almost defines the character of the US. But the Earth is running out of frontiers fast. In Brian Clegg's The Final Frontier we discover the massive challenges that face explorers, both human and robotic, to uncover the current and future technologies that could take us out into the galaxy and take a voyage of discovery where no one has gone before... but one day someone will. In 2003, General Wesley Clark set the nation a challenge to produce the technology that would enable new pioneers to explore the galaxy. That challenge is tough — the greatest we've ever faced. But taking on the final frontier does not have to be a fantasy. In a time of recession, escapism is always popular — and what greater escape from the everyday can there be than the chance of leaving Earth's bounds and exploring the universe? With a rich popular culture heritage in science fiction movies, books and TV shows, this is a subject that entertains and informs in equal measure.

A Brief History of Mathematical Thought

Author: Luke Heaton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190621761

Category: Math anxiety

Page: 336

View: 3746

Emblazoned on many advertisements for the wildly popular game of Sudoku are the reassuring words, "no mathematical knowledge required." Anxiety about math plagues many of us, and school memories can still summon intense loathing. In A Brief History of Mathematical Thought, Luke Heaton shows that much of what many think-and fear-about mathematics is misplaced, and to overcome our insecurities we need to understand its history. To help, he offers a lively guide into and through the world of mathematics and mathematicians, one in which patterns and arguments are traced through logic in a language grounded in concrete experience. Heaton reveals how Greek and Roman mathematicians like Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes helped shaped the early logic of mathematics; how the Fibonacci sequence, the rise of algebra, and the invention of calculus are connected; how clocks, coordinates, and logical padlocks work mathematically; and how, in the twentieth century, Alan Turing's revolutionary work on the concept of computation laid the groundwork for the modern world. A Brief History of Mathematical Thought situates mathematics as part of, and essential to, lived experience. Understanding it requires not abstract thought or numbing memorization but an historical imagination and a view to its origins. --

Number

The Language of Science; a Critical Survey Written for the Cultured Non-mathematician

Author: Tobias Dantzig

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Arithmetic

Page: 262

View: 7397

Ten Billion Tomorrows

How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466861924

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 4534

Science fiction is a vital part of popular culture, influencing the way we all look at the world. TV shows like Star Trek and movies from Forbidden Planet to Inception have influenced scientists to enter the profession and have shaped our futures. Science fiction doesn't set out to predict what will happen - it's far more about how human beings react to "What if?..." - but it is fascinating to see how science fiction and reality sometimes converge, sometimes take extraordinarily different paths. Ten Billion Tomorrows brings to life a whole host of science fiction topics, from the virtual environment of The Matrix and the intelligent computer HAL in 2001, to force fields, ray guns and cyborgs. We discover how science fiction has excited us with possibilities, whether it is Star Trek's holodeck inspiring makers of iconic video games Doom and Quake to create the virtual interactive worlds that transformed gaming, or the strange physics that has made real cloaking devices possible. Mixing remarkable science with the imagination of our greatest science fiction writers, Ten Billion Tomorrows will delight science fiction lovers and popular science devotees alike.

Build Your Own Time Machine

The Real Science of Time Travel

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

ISBN: 9780715645185

Category: Space and time

Page: 320

View: 9810

In Build Your Own Time Machine, acclaimed science writer Brian Clegg takes inspiration from his childhood favourites, Doctor Who and H.G. Wells, to explain the nature of time. He explores the amazing possibilities of quantum entanglement, superluminal speeds, neutron star cylinders and wormholes in space. How did the theories of one man change the way time is perceived? Why wouldn't H.G. Wells's time machine have worked? And what would we need to do to make a real one?

A Short History of Nearly Everything

Author: Bill Bryson

Publisher: Anchor Canada

ISBN: 0385674503

Category: Science

Page: 560

View: 3839

One of the world’s most beloved and bestselling writers takes his ultimate journey -- into the most intriguing and intractable questions that science seeks to answer. In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson trekked the Appalachian Trail -- well, most of it. In In A Sunburned Country, he confronted some of the most lethal wildlife Australia has to offer. Now, in his biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand -- and, if possible, answer -- the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining. From the Hardcover edition.

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