(and then some)
Professor Kimmo Rosenthal
April 27, 2015
Bailey Hall 207
Refreshments will be served in Bailey Hall 204 4:45pm
There is one concept that corrupts and deranges the others. I speak not of Evil, whose limited domain is Ethics; I refer to the Infinite. Jorge Luis Borges.
The concept of the infinite has been both intriguing and bedeviling since the days of the Greeks with their concept of apeiron. The infinite has always had metaphysical and religious overtones and has influenced many thinkers, as well as artists and writers. It was not until the second half of the nineteenth century that the mathematician Georg Cantor laid the foundations for a rigorous mathematical study of infinity (he also met with strong opposition from many quarters, which we shall discuss). This talk will be an olio of remarks about infinity, some historical, including a discussion of the life of Georg Cantor, some mathematical (can an infinite set be “small”?), and some literary, (remarks about stories by Borges such as The Book of Sand and The Aleph) – and then some. One is almost tempted to posit that the discussion could veer in infinitely many (countable, of course) directions.
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