KSJ Tracker Tag: numbers

January 2, 2013

Natalie Angier at the NY Times: One infinity, many infinities.

The New Year's offering yesterday from Natalie Angier at The New York Times tripped me up at the lede:

On this day that fetishizes finitude, that reminds us how rapidly our own earthly time share is shrinking, allow me to offer the modest comfort of infinities.

I'm not sure which day she's talking about, Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. And I'm not sure infinities will expand our time share. But from there on, she delivers a delightful piece on current thinking about infinities--not one, but many.

"in the ever-evolving view of scientists, philosophers and other scholars, there really is no single, implacable entity called infinity," she writes. Instead, they "come in a vast variety of shapes, sizes, purposes and charms," including such monsters as "hunchback" and "hyperboloid" infinities.