To Infinity and Beyond A Cultural History of the Infinite

ISBN-10: 0691025118
ISBN-13: 9780691025117
Edition: 1991
Authors: Eli Maor
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Description: Eli Maor examines the role of infinity in mathematics and geometry and its cultural impact on the arts and sciences. He evokes the profound intellectual impact the infinite has exercised on the human mind--from the "horror infiniti" of the Greeks to  More...

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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 1991
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 7/29/1991
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 296
Size: 6.75" wide x 9.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.188
Language: English

Eli Maor examines the role of infinity in mathematics and geometry and its cultural impact on the arts and sciences. He evokes the profound intellectual impact the infinite has exercised on the human mind--from the "horror infiniti" of the Greeks to the works of M. C. Escher; from the ornamental designs of the Moslems, to the sage Giordano Bruno, whose belief in an infinite universe led to his death at the hands of the Inquisition. But above all, the book describes the mathematician's fascination with infinity--a fascination mingled with puzzlement. "Maor explores the idea of infinity in mathematics and in art and argues that this is the point of contact between the two, best exemplified by the work of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher, six of whose works are shown here in beautiful color plates."--Los Angeles Times "[Eli Maor's] enthusiasm for the topic carries the reader through a rich panorama."--Choice "Fascinating and enjoyable.... places the ideas of infinity in a cultural context and shows how they have been espoused and molded by mathematics."--Science

Eli Maor is a teacher of the history of mathematics who has successfully popularized his subject with the general public through a series of informative and entertaining books. In "E: The Story of a Number," Maor uses anecdotes, excursions and essays to illustrate that number's importance to mathematics. "Trigonometric Delights" brings trigonometry to life by blending history, biography, scientific curiosities and mathematics to achieve the goal of showing how trigonometry has contributed to both science and social development. "To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite" explores the idea of infinity in mathematics and art through the use of the illustrations of the Dutch artist M.C. Escher. Eli Maor's readable books have made the world of numbers accessible even to those with little or no background in mathematics.

Preface vii Color Plates
Mathematical Infinity
First Steps to Infinity
Zero, One, Infinity
Towards Legitimation
Numbers Large and Small
Convergence and Limit
The Prime Numbers
The Fascination of Infinite Series
The Geometric Series
More about Infinite Series
Interlude: An Excursion into the Number Concept
The Discovery of Irrational Numbers
A Do-It-Yourself Method for Finding [Square Root of] 2 49
Three Celebrated Irrationals
Cantor's New Look at the Infinite
Beyond Infinity
Geometric Infinity
Some Functions and Their Graphs
Some Geometric Paradoxes Involving Infinity
Inversion in a Circle
Geographic Maps and Infinity
Tiling the Plane
A New Look at Geometry
The Vain Search for Absolute Truth
Aesthetic Infinity
Rejoice the Infinite!
The Mouml;bius Strip
The Magic World of Mirrors
Horror Vacui, Amor Infiniti
Escher--Master of the Infinite
The Modern Kabbalists
Cosmological Infinity
The Ancient World
The New Cosmology
The Horizons Are Receding
A Paradox and Its Aftermath
The Expanding Universe
The Modern Atomists
Which Way from Here?
Epilogue
Appendix
Bibliography
Index

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