Everything and More: A Compact History of [infinity]

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2003 - Mathematics - 319 pages
9 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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User Review  - zzelinski - LibraryThing

Couldn't finish it -- the math got too complex. What I did read, though, was awesome! Very well explained and wonderfully staged, each scene led me directly down the path towards infinity. Read full review

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User Review  - contriver - LibraryThing

Meh. An acceptable overview / history of the subject. Only limited amounts of the DFW uniqueness shine through. If you both like DFW and are interested in the math, it's pretty good. If you only like one or neither of those, this will likely not change your mind. Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Friederike Eigler, Georgetwon University, Washington DC, USA; Jens Kugele, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany.

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