To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite

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Springer, 1987 - Infini - 275 pages
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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

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Contents

Mathematical Infinity
2
Geometric Infinity
68
A New Look at Geometry
108
Copyright

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About the author (1987)

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.

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