The Infinite Book
A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless
By John D. Barrow
(Vintage, Paperback, 9781400032242, 352pp.)
Publication Date: September 12, 2006
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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.
John D. Barrow is Research Professor of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of several bestselling books, including Theories of Everything and Impossibility.
“Highly engaging. . . . [Barrow] brings his charm and wit to bear. . . . [He] introduces novel twists and turns, and presents [the] material in refreshing ways.”–Nature
"Eloquent. . . . Succinct. . . . Barrow [has the] remarkable ability to provide clear, concise, engaging and distinctly finite explanations–even when describing some fairly advanced concepts. . . . [An] engaging read."–San Francisco Chronicle
"Clever and insightful. . . . [A] lively history of infinity through the ages."–Entertainment Weekly
“Entertaining. . . . Remarkably lucid and not the least mind-boggling. . . . His clear, engaging style manages to illuminate abstruse matters.... This is a useful guide to an endlessly fascinating subject.” –American Scientist