Brian CLEGG’s Infinity (full title – A Brief History of Infinity, the Quest to Think the Unthinkable, published 2003 by Robinson.
Within his well crafted presentation of the mathematical delving into the concept of infinity, in the first three chapters alone he quotes or explains Douglas Adams’ Hitch-hikers Guide the the Galaxy, physicist Richard Feynman, Plutarch, counting nursery rhymes, the philosopher Zeno’s tale about Achilles and the paradox of dichotomy, Edward Kasner’s origins of a ‘googol’ to name the numeral 1 with a hundred zeroes following it… My mind raced to keep up as Clegg described the patterns and pitfalls of early reasoning! Brain Food! Einstein then Maxwell’s theories of stopping time; left-brain / right-brain thinking; David Fowler’s The Mathematics of Plato’s Academy; Acrophonic numeration; a tiring frog whose each hop could only be half the length of the hop just before; Erwin Schrödinger’s cat; Aristotle’s schools in Academos then later in Athens… And I’m only on page 32 of 243… I’m going to enjoy popping out of the book to read more on all the leads Clegg offers.
(Where was a book like this when I was at secondary school? I’ve missed so much!)
It is his third of a series – Light Years, and The First Scientist. Both were published by Constable in 2002