Tamura/Lilly Lecture Series 2019
The Department of Math presents John Stillwell, University of San Francisco, who will discuss "All Infinities, Great and Small."
Infinity has been part of mathematics since ancient times, and it has caused controversy since the beginning. At first, the controversy was about “potential” versus “actual” infinity. In the 19th century the controversy morphed into “discrete” versus “continuous” infinity, and was intensified by Cantor’s discovery that there are infinitely many kinds of infinity.
This led, in the 20th century, to axiom systems for set theory that attempt to clarify the notion of infinite set. The ‘‘clarified’’ notion answered many questions, but not all—in fact it is impossible to know whether certain very large sets, called inaccessible sets, exist. Even more confounding is the fact that these inaccessible sets control what is true of the real numbers, which mathematicians hoped to be completely knowable.
This talk will cover the subject of infinity and its history, with graphics that attempt to show what infinity looks like.
A Reception along with refreshments will be held beforehand at 4 pm in King Building 203.