What’s it all about?
“You smell”… “you smell x 1 million”… “you smell x infinity”
Everyone knows infinity, right? The biggest number in the world. The logical end of every playground argument.
But, what if I told you that some infinities were bigger than others?
In this mind-bending class, we will explore the limits of both numbers and our own comprehension as we find out what infinity really means, and how that has changed through history.*
*No knowledge or strange affection for maths required.
What will we cover?
We will start with some very big numbers and go up from there.
After a quick recap of some secondary school definitions (the boring bit), we will trace notions of infinity from Ancient Greek paradoxes to the modern day, spending a good deal of time with a chap called Georg Cantor, one of the most radical (and unusual) mathematicians to have ever lived.
When Cantor first claimed that there were different types of infinity, most other experts called him crazy (he probably WAS crazy, but that didn’t make him wrong). Nowadays, his theories are taught to every maths undergraduate. We will finish off the class by walking through two of his proofs – both elegant enough for anyone (ANYONE!) to follow them, but creative enough to qualify as works of genius.
Who will be teaching?
Tom did his undergraduate degree in maths at Cambridge in the UK. It seems like an infinity ago now, and there isn’t much maths in his current job, but he is looking forward to digging up his old textbooks and walking you through a topic that continues to blow his mind.