Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2003 - Mathematics - 319 pages
73 Reviews
One of the outstanding voices of his generation, David Foster Wallace has won a large and devoted following for the intellectual ambition and bravura style of his fiction and essays. Now he brings his considerable talents to the history of one of math's most enduring puzzles: the seemingly paradoxical nature of infinity. Is infinity a valid mathematical property or a meaningless abstraction? The nineteenth-century mathematical genius Georg Cantor's answer to this question not only surprised him but also shook the very foundations upon which math had been built. Cantor's counterintuitive discovery of a progression of larger and larger infinities created controversy in his time and may have hastened his mental breakdown, but it also helped lead to the development of set theory, analytic philosophy, and even computer technology. Smart, challenging, and thoroughly rewarding, Wallace's tour de force brings immediate and high-profile recognition to the bizarre and fascinating world of higher mathematics.

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Review: Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (Great Discoveries)

User Review  - Andrew Brown - Goodreads

Readable, 'layman's' guide to the history of infinity. Not necessarily rigorous in it's presentation or mathematics, Wallace offers an enjoyable introduction to one of mathematics' most vexing problems. Read full review

Review: Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (Great Discoveries)

User Review  - Brian - Goodreads

Better than most of his work, the bulk of which I consider the best writing in the English language. This is a truncated review, abstract rather than obtuse, and will be added according to some set theory m^tm where m is me, t is time available, and... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Writer David Foster Wallace was born in Ithaca, New York on February 21, 1962. He received a B.A. from Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was working on his master's degree in creative writing at the University of Arizona when he published his debut novel The Broom of the System (1987). Wallace published his second novel Infinite Jest (1996) which introduced a cast of characters that included recovering alcoholics, foreign statesmen, residents of a halfway house, and high-school tennis stars. He spent four years researching and writing this novel. His first collection of short stories was Girl with Curious Hair (1989). He also published a nonfiction work titled Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present. He committed suicide on September 12, 2008 at the age of 46 after suffering with bouts of depression for 20 years.

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