Discussion in 'The Science Forum' started by Dashing_Chap, Mar 4, 2012.

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  1. Infinity and the infinite are curious paradoxes which have always fascinated me, Cantor turned mad from it apparently.

    ∞ + 99999999999 = ∞

    ∞ - 99999999999 = ∞

    ∞ + ∞ = ∞

    ∞ - ∞ = 0

    So it appears there's smaller infinities and bigger infinities, there's more decimal infinities than normal number infinities and there's also as many odd and even infinities as normal numbers too, in fact there's an infinite number of infinities. Quite strange really...

    There's also as many points along the line of this T as there are in the entire universe.

    And now the big question - does infinity exist?

    Answers on a postcard, if you can fit ∞ on a postcard anyway.

    A vid:

  2. I must admit to being fascinated by the concept of infinity as well, and especially the concepts of bigger and smaller infinity as you put it. For example, the set of integers (whole numbers) is infinite, but between any two integers are an infinite set of irrational numbers, making the latter set bigger than the first, which is itself, erm, infinite.

    And of course, irrational numbers have an infinite set of digits. Let’s take the square root of 2, which will do just as well as any other. Assign a 1 to every even digit and a 0 to every odd digit and sooner or later the word ARRSE will be spelled out using an arbitrary code such as found in standard software. Likewise, eventually every book ever written will pop up, together with every film ever made and the whole of history shown from every visual angle, and each instance will appear infinitely. Also, of course, every alternative and impossible history will also occur.

    Carl Sagan’s book Contact has a clever little twist on this infinity at the end, but for those who haven’t read it I won’t spoil it.
  3. I don't know about infinity. But as an ex-infanteer I do know how to count as one: 1; 2; 3; 4; many...
  4. A VAX was set the task of number crunching potential solutions to Fermats last theorem. I ran for approximately 3 months during the summer holidays reaching unfeasibly large numbers without finding a fitting answer,

    Now it cleans carpets? Spooky.
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  5. infinity doesn't exist ... there is a biggest number which is followed by zero.
  6. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    As an ex-infanteer, I was taught counting as 1,2-3, 1. Never changes!

    Anyway, there is no infinity - end of! ;-P
  7. Infinity is a mathmatical concept that does not map to the real world.
  8. How about the singularity in black holes?
  9. Numbers are a mathematical concept. They are an idea only.

    Infinity is not a number. It is a state of endlessness.

    Numbers are finite by their very nature. There is no "last number" because you can always add one to any number. But there is no number that is "one before infinity". Infinity is not a number.
  10. There were many tribes from deepest darkest Africa that when discovered their only numbers used were 0,1,2 and many
  11. The whole concept of endlessness is the stuff of 05:00hr debates. One I remember from primary school was a friend aged 7 who posed the question,

    'If you get to the end of the universe and find a wall, what's on the other side?'
  12. I don't know, but whoever they are, they won't give me my ball back. Are you going to pass that joint around, or hog it all night?
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  13. King Leopold of Belgium had their hands cut off if they didn't meet their rubber quotas; it made counting above 5 a bit difficult.
    They were thoroughly ungrateful for all the modern conveniences their colonial masters introduced.

    "Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to suck up the dirt. Call that job satisfaction, 'cause I don't."

  14. As a sidenote, Fermats last theorem was solved by a rather smart British chap, Prof Andrew Wiles, sometime in the mid 90s. BBC Horizon made a programme about it here: Fermat's Last Theorem (Complete) - YouTube