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A Brief History of Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable: Brief Histories | [Brian Clegg]

A Brief History of Infinity: The Quest to Think the Unthinkable: Brief Histories

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
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Publisher's Summary

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 title offers a stimulating and entertaining listen.

Brian Clegg is author of the highly acclaimed Light Years and The First Scientist. While working for British Airways he set up the Emerging Technologies Group, responsible for researching cutting-edge technologies. He currently runs his own creative consultancy business.

©2013 Brian Clegg (P)2013 Audible Ltd

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    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 03-29-13
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 03-29-13 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

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    "Really not great in Audio, not great otherwise"

    Although I like mathematics and infinity this book did not work in audio very well. A lot of time is spent going over high-school level set theory, and verbally describing Venn diagrams and the interleaving many digit random numbers is pretty uninteresting. The author does not make the personalities compelling and I did not learn a thing from this book. This book is for real beginners, and audio format is not best for this material. The narration is just OK, a little boring and a few flubs.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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  • Stuart
    10/9/14
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    "Good, but maths is not suited to the audio format"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, though I find not finish it.


    Any additional comments?

    I suspect the written form is an excellent book. The audio starts well, the reader is very listenable to. However as the book progresses there is more and more formal maths in it, which ultimately is highly unsuited to the audio format. How do you read out an equation?I may well get the print version, but I gave up on the audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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