Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity

Author: David Foster Wallace,Neal Stephenson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393339289

Category: Mathematics

Page: 344

View: 7452

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The bestselling author of "Infinite Jest" takes on the 2,000 year-old quest to understand infinity. Wallace brings his considerable talents to the history of one of math's most enduring puzzles: the seemingly paradoxical nature of infinity.

A Brief History of Infinity

The Quest to Think the Unthinkable

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Robinson

ISBN: 1472107640

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 9839

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'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.

Naming Infinity

A True Story of Religious Mysticism and Mathematical Creativity

Author: Loren Graham,Jean-Michel Kantor

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674032934

Category: History

Page: 239

View: 6105

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Looks at the competition between French and Russian mathematicians over the nature of infinity during the twentieth century.

David Foster Wallace: The Last Interview

and Other Conversations

Author: David Foster Wallace

Publisher: Melville House

ISBN: 1612192076

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 128

View: 2357

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In intimate and eloquent interviews, including the last he gave before his suicide, the writer hailed by A.O. Scott of The New York Times as “the best mind of his generation” considers the state of modern America, entertainment and discipline, adulthood, literature, and his own inimitable writing style. In addition to Wallace’s last interview, the volume features a conversation with Dave Eggers, a revealing Q&A with the magazine of his alma mater Amherst, his famous Salon interview with Laura Miller following the publication of Infinite Jest, and more. These conversations showcase and illuminate the traits for which Wallace remains so beloved: his incomparable humility and enormous erudition, his wit, sensitivity, and humanity. As he eloquently describes his writing process and motivations, displays his curiosity by time and again turning the tables on his interviewers, and delivers thoughtful, idiosyncratic views on literature, politics, entertainment and discipline, and the state of modern America, a fuller picture of this remarkable mind is revealed.

Playing with Infinity

Author: Rózsa Péter

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 0486150054

Category: Mathematics

Page: 288

View: 3147

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Popular account ranges from counting to mathematical logic and covers many concepts related to infinity: graphic representation of functions; pairings, other combinations; prime numbers; logarithms, circular functions; more. 216 illustrations.

Signifying Rappers

Author: Mark Costello,David Foster Wallace

Publisher: Back Bay Books

ISBN: 0316401110

Category: Music

Page: 176

View: 6658

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Finally back in print--David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello's exuberant exploration of rap music and culture. Living together in Cambridge in 1989, David Foster Wallace and longtime friend Mark Costello discovered that they shared "an uncomfortable, somewhat furtive, and distinctively white enthusiasm for a certain music called rap/hip-hop." The book they wrote together, set against the legendary Boston music scene, mapped the bipolarities of rap and pop, rebellion and acceptance, glitz and gangsterdom. Signifying Rappers issued a fan's challenge to the giants of rock writing, Greil Marcus, Robert Palmer, and Lester Bangs: Could the new street beats of 1989 set us free, as rock had always promised? Back in print at last, Signifying Rappers is a rare record of a city and a summer by two great thinkers, writers, and friends. With a new foreword by Mark Costello on his experience writing with David Foster Wallace, this rerelease cannot be missed.

Fate, Time, and Language

An Essay on Free Will

Author: David Foster Wallace

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231151578

Category: Philosophy

Page: 252

View: 2201

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In 1962, the philosopher Richard Taylor used six commonly accepted presuppositions to imply that human beings have no control over the future. David Foster Wallace not only took issue with Taylor's methods, but also noted a semantic trick at the heart of Taylor's argument. Fate, Time, and Language presents Wallace's critique of Taylor's work. Wallace's thesis reveals his great skepticism of abstract thinking made to function as a negation of something more genuine and real. He was especially suspicious of the cerebral aestheticism of modernism and the clever gimmickry of postmodernism, which abandoned "the very old traditional human verities that have to do with spirituality and emotion and community." As Wallace rises to meet the challenge to free will presented by Taylor, we witness the developing perspective of this major novelist and his struggle to establish logical ground for his convictions. This volume, edited by Steven M. Cahn and Maureen Eckert, reproduces Taylor's original article and other works on fatalism cited by Wallace. James Ryerson's introduction connects Wallace's early philosophical work to the themes and explorations of his later fiction, and Jay Garfield supplies a critical biographical epilogue.

Infinity and the Mind

The Science and Philosophy of the Infinite

Author: Rudy Rucker

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400849047

Category: Mathematics

Page: 368

View: 1382

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In Infinity and the Mind, Rudy Rucker leads an excursion to that stretch of the universe he calls the "Mindscape," where he explores infinity in all its forms: potential and actual, mathematical and physical, theological and mundane. Rucker acquaints us with Gödel's rotating universe, in which it is theoretically possible to travel into the past, and explains an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which billions of parallel worlds are produced every microsecond. It is in the realm of infinity, he maintains, that mathematics, science, and logic merge with the fantastic. By closely examining the paradoxes that arise from this merging, we can learn a great deal about the human mind, its powers, and its limitations. Using cartoons, puzzles, and quotations to enliven his text, Rucker guides us through such topics as the paradoxes of set theory, the possibilities of physical infinities, and the results of Gödel's incompleteness theorems. His personal encounters with Gödel the mathematician and philosopher provide a rare glimpse at genius and reveal what very few mathematicians have dared to admit: the transcendent implications of Platonic realism.

Numbers and Infinity

A Historical Account of Mathematical Concepts

Author: E. H. Sondheimer,Alan Rogerson

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 0486452980

Category: Mathematics

Page: 172

View: 4962

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This fresh overview of numbers and infinity avoids tedium and controversy while maintaining historical accuracy and modern relevance. Perfect for undergraduate mathematics or science history courses. 1981 edition.

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: 6267

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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.

The Infinite Book

A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless

Author: John D. Barrow

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307428761

Category: Philosophy

Page: 352

View: 808

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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.

Roads to Infinity

The Mathematics of Truth and Proof

Author: John C. Stillwell

Publisher: CRC Press

ISBN: 1439865507

Category: Mathematics

Page: 250

View: 410

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Winner of a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award for 2011! This book offers an introduction to modern ideas about infinity and their implications for mathematics. It unifies ideas from set theory and mathematical logic, and traces their effects on mainstream mathematical topics of today, such as number theory and combinatorics. The treatment is historical and partly informal, but with due attention to the subtleties of the subject. Ideas are shown to evolve from natural mathematical questions about the nature of infinity and the nature of proof, set against a background of broader questions and developments in mathematics. A particular aim of the book is to acknowledge some important but neglected figures in the history of infinity, such as Post and Gentzen, alongside the recognized giants Cantor and Gödel.

The Unspeakable Failures of David Foster Wallace

Language, Identity, and Resistance

Author: Clare Hayes-Brady

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 1501335847

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 232

View: 8144

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"A critical overview of the writing of David Foster Wallace, taking his persistent interests in philosophy, language and plurality as points of departure"--

Infinite Jest

Author: David Foster Wallace

Publisher: Back Bay Books

ISBN: 9780316073851

Category: Fiction

Page: 1104

View: 1139

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A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.

Up, Simba!

Author: David Foster Wallace

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 0446931411

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 80

View: 5775

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In February 2000, "Rolling Stone" magazine sent David Foster Wallace, "NOT A POLITICAL JOURNALIST, " on the road for a week with Senator John McCain's campaign to win the Republican nomination for the Presidency. They wanted to know why McCain appealed so much to so many Americans, and particularly why he appealed to the "Young Voters" of America who generally show nothing but apathy. The "Director's Cut" (three times longer than the RS article) is an incisive, funny, thoughtful piece about life on "Bullshit One" -- the nickname for the press bus that followed McCain's Straight Talk Express. This piece becomes ever more relevant, as we discuss what we know, don't know, and don't want to know about the way our political campaigns work.

The Invention of Infinity

Mathematics and Art in the Renaissance

Author: Judith Veronica Field

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198523947

Category: Mathematics

Page: 250

View: 1290

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Fully illustrated, this story brings together the histories of arts and mathematics and shows how infinity at last acquired a precise mathematical meaning.

From Zero to Infinity

What Makes Numbers Interesting

Author: Constance Reid

Publisher: CRC Press

ISBN: 1439881235

Category: Mathematics

Page: 208

View: 8885

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From Zero to Infinity is a combination of number lore, number history, and sparkling descriptions of the simply stated but exceedingly difficult problems posed by the most ordinary numbers that first appeared in 1955 and has been kept in print continuously ever since. With the fifth edition this classic has been updated to report on advances in number theory over the last 50 years, including the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. Deceptively simple in style and structure, it is a book to which the reader will return again and again, gaining greater understanding and satisfaction with each reading.

Beyond Infinity

An expedition to the outer limits of the mathematical universe

Author: Eugenia Cheng

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1782830812

Category: Mathematics

Page: 204

View: 1245

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SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2017 ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE Even small children know there are infinitely many whole numbers - start counting and you'll never reach the end. But there are also infinitely many decimal numbers between zero and one. Are these two types of infinity the same? Are they larger or smaller than each other? Can we even talk about 'larger' and 'smaller' when we talk about infinity? In Beyond Infinity, international maths sensation Eugenia Cheng reveals the inner workings of infinity. What happens when a new guest arrives at your infinite hotel - but you already have an infinite number of guests? How does infinity give Zeno's tortoise the edge in a paradoxical foot-race with Achilles? And can we really make an infinite number of cookies from a finite amount of cookie dough? Wielding an armoury of inventive, intuitive metaphor, Cheng draws beginners and enthusiasts alike into the heart of this mysterious, powerful concept to reveal fundamental truths about mathematics, all the way from the infinitely large down to the infinitely small.

Beautiful Geometry

Author: Eli Maor,Eugen Jost

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400848334

Category: Mathematics

Page: 208

View: 3217

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If you've ever thought that mathematics and art don't mix, this stunning visual history of geometry will change your mind. As much a work of art as a book about mathematics, Beautiful Geometry presents more than sixty exquisite color plates illustrating a wide range of geometric patterns and theorems, accompanied by brief accounts of the fascinating history and people behind each. With artwork by Swiss artist Eugen Jost and text by math historian Eli Maor, this unique celebration of geometry covers numerous subjects, from straightedge-and-compass constructions to intriguing configurations involving infinity. The result is a delightful and informative illustrated tour through the 2,500-year-old history of one of the most important branches of mathematics.