Infinite reactions, 4

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications has just published an article about the Horizon programme “To Infinity and Beyond” in its journal Mathematics TODAY. Nominally written by Chris Budd (a consultant on the programme whose views were partly ignored), David Spiegelhalter (who did the “infinite monkeys” segment), Stephen Cooter (the producer) and me, it was actually put together by the hard work of Rebecca Waters, to whom I would like to pay tribute. The preamble remarks that it is not often that a programme engaging seriously with mathematics is watched by one and a half million people, and that a look behind the scenes at the making of the programme and reactions to it is a good response to this. Take a look at the article.

Here is a slightly creepy photo from Hilbert’s hotel:

Hilbert's Hotel

The exam marking season usually throws up a few gems. This year, a student told me:

The value of this infinite continued fraction is infinite and gets successively smaller.

Another development: Doron Zeilberger has put up a robust and thought-provoking defence of his finitist position here. A much briefer version of this appears in the IMA article.

Finally, readers may be interested in the blog A dialogue on infinity.

About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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