The Infinite Quest

The Infinite Quest

In late May, I was in Hay-on-Wye at the How the Light Gets In festival.

I talked about humanity’s engagement with infinity over the last few millennia, from Malunkyaputta’s questions to the Buddha and Aristotle’s disavowal of a completed infinity to Cantor, Hilbert and Gödel in the twentieth century. I was very pleased with the way it went, and later in the day met some of the audience discussing it.

The course was filmed, and has just gone live on the website of the IAI Academy. (The initials are for the Institute of Arts and Ideas, which runs the festival and now provides on-line courses from its Academy.) You can find it at

You have to register to take the course, but registration is free. There is additional material available, and the possibility of adding more; there is a discussion forum; and you earn a certificate if you complete the course.

I think they have done a great job, given that the lecture was filmed in a tent in the middle of a very muddy field. Take a look if you are interested. When I talked about infinity on “Horizon” on the BBC it provoked a lot of discussion and comment, and I hope that this does too. Indeed, one of the hardest parts of preparing the course material was coming up with questions with a “right answer”: the first few I suggested were more like invitations to discuss things.

About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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