Unraveling the mysteries of infinity by jimmie lawson louisiana state university
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Unraveling The Mysteries of Infinity by Jimmie Lawson Louisiana State University

Unraveling The Mysteries of Infinity by Jimmie Lawson Louisiana State University

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Unraveling the mysteries of infinity by jimmie lawson louisiana state university Unraveling the mysteries of infinity by jimmie lawson louisiana state university Presentation Transcript

  • Unraveling the Mysteries of Infinity Jimmie Lawson Louisiana State University Infinity – p.
  • Thinking about the InfiniteThere is a rich history of study and reflection on the conceptand mystery of the infinite in a variety of contexts. Thiscontemplation has often inspired feelings of awe, mystery,bafflement, skepticism (either about the reality of the infiniteor our ability to make any sense of it), even fear. Infinity – p.
  • Thinking about the InfiniteThere is a rich history of study and reflection on the conceptand mystery of the infinite in a variety of contexts. Thiscontemplation has often inspired feelings of awe, mystery,bafflement, skepticism (either about the reality of the infiniteor our ability to make any sense of it), even fear.The French mathematician/philosopher/religious writerBlaise Pascal captures some of these feelings in the words:“When I consider the small span of my life absorbed in theeternity of all time, or the small part of space that I cantouch or see engulfed by the infinite immensity of space, Iam frightened and astonished.” Infinity – p.
  • The Absolute InfinityThe term “Absolute Infinity” has been used to refer tobeings who personify the infinite. Religions in general andtheologians in particular, also philosophers, havecontemplated beings who were infinite in various aspects oftheir beings. A most common aspect has been immortality,existing through time without beginning or end. Infinity – p.
  • The Absolute InfinityThe term “Absolute Infinity” has been used to refer tobeings who personify the infinite. Religions in general andtheologians in particular, also philosophers, havecontemplated beings who were infinite in various aspects oftheir beings. A most common aspect has been immortality,existing through time without beginning or end.The Hebrew Bible, for instance, gives vivid statement to thisin Psalm 90: Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Infinity – p.
  • The Physically InfinitePhilosophers, scientists, and other thinkers from at least thedays of the Greeks have contemplated the physicallyinfinite. Infinity – p.
  • The Physically InfinitePhilosophers, scientists, and other thinkers from at least thedays of the Greeks have contemplated the physicallyinfinite.Is time infinite in duration, without beginning and ending?Can it be infinitely divided? Infinity – p.
  • The Physically InfinitePhilosophers, scientists, and other thinkers from at least thedays of the Greeks have contemplated the physicallyinfinite.Is time infinite in duration, without beginning and ending?Can it be infinitely divided?Is space infinite in extent? What about our universe? Arethere an infinite number of heavenly bodies? Are thereinfinitely many (possible or actual) universes? Can matterbe infinitely divided? Infinity – p.
  • The Infinite in MathematicsRealizing the logical pitfalls surrounding the idea of allowinginfinite quantities, pitfalls dating back at least to the puzzlesor paradoxes of Zeno, mathematicians shied away from thenotion. Infinity – p.
  • The Infinite in MathematicsRealizing the logical pitfalls surrounding the idea of allowinginfinite quantities, pitfalls dating back at least to the puzzlesor paradoxes of Zeno, mathematicians shied away from thenotion.The rise of modern mathematics and modern science inEurope after the Renaissance revived interest in thesubject, however, as, for example, Infinity – p.
  • The Infinite in MathematicsRealizing the logical pitfalls surrounding the idea of allowinginfinite quantities, pitfalls dating back at least to the puzzlesor paradoxes of Zeno, mathematicians shied away from thenotion.The rise of modern mathematics and modern science inEurope after the Renaissance revived interest in thesubject, however, as, for example, Galileo considered motion as a function of time over continuously varying instances of time; Infinity – p.
  • The Infinite in MathematicsRealizing the logical pitfalls surrounding the idea of allowinginfinite quantities, pitfalls dating back at least to the puzzlesor paradoxes of Zeno, mathematicians shied away from thenotion.The rise of modern mathematics and modern science inEurope after the Renaissance revived interest in thesubject, however, as, for example, Galileo considered motion as a function of time over continuously varying instances of time; Newton and Leibnitz introduced the calculus with its calculations based on infinitesimally small, but non-zero, quantities. Infinity – p.
  • George CantorThe major mathematical breakthrough came in the late 19thcentury in groundbreaking work of George Cantor, whointroduced the theory of sets as a foundation formathematics and included a substantial mathematicaltheory of infinite sets. His highly original work was quitecontroversial in its day, but has made a major impact onmodern mathematics. Infinity – p.
  • One-to-One CorrespondencesA basic insight of Cantor was that two sets should becompared by the existence or non-existence of one-to-onecorrespondences (members of one set could be paired upwith members of the other so that everyone had a “dancingpartner”), but not by whether one was a smaller set than theother. Infinity – p.
  • One-to-One CorrespondencesA basic insight of Cantor was that two sets should becompared by the existence or non-existence of one-to-onecorrespondences (members of one set could be paired upwith members of the other so that everyone had a “dancingpartner”), but not by whether one was a smaller set than theother. 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... ··· 1 4 9 16 25 36 . . . Infinity – p.
  • One-to-One CorrespondencesA basic insight of Cantor was that two sets should becompared by the existence or non-existence of one-to-onecorrespondences (members of one set could be paired upwith members of the other so that everyone had a “dancingpartner”), but not by whether one was a smaller set than theother. 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... ··· 1 4 9 16 25 36 . . .The set of perfect squares has the same number ofelements as all the counting numbers though it is a muchsmaller subset. Infinity – p.
  • The Infinite Number ℵRather than trying to define the number 3, we need to learnhow to tell whether a collection of objects has 3 members orsome other number of members. We do this by countingand seeing whether we use precisely the numbers 1,2, and3. We use a similar approach for ℵ (aleph). We count theobjects and see whether we use precisely all the numbersN = {1, 2, 3, 4, . . .}. (Note the resemblance between ℵ andN.) Infinity – p.
  • The Infinite Number ℵRather than trying to define the number 3, we need to learnhow to tell whether a collection of objects has 3 members orsome other number of members. We do this by countingand seeing whether we use precisely the numbers 1,2, and3. We use a similar approach for ℵ (aleph). We count theobjects and see whether we use precisely all the numbersN = {1, 2, 3, 4, . . .}. (Note the resemblance between ℵ andN.)More precisely, we say a collection of objects has size orcardinality ℵ, or is countably infinite, if it can be put inone-to-one correspondence with the set N. Intuitively thismeans that there is some method of pasting exactly onenumber on each of the objects. Infinity – p.
  • A New ArithmeticCantor was able to show many surprising things about thearithmetic of infinite numbers. We will illustrate a few ofthese with a retelling of the story of Hercules cleaning theAugean stables, one of his twelve labors. Recall thatAugeas was a man of vast herds of animals, and Herculeswas able to cleanse the huge and filthy stables in one dayby diverting a river through them. Infinity – p.
  • A New ArithmeticCantor was able to show many surprising things about thearithmetic of infinite numbers. We will illustrate a few ofthese with a retelling of the story of Hercules cleaning theAugean stables, one of his twelve labors. Recall thatAugeas was a man of vast herds of animals, and Herculeswas able to cleanse the huge and filthy stables in one dayby diverting a river through them.We modify the story so that the Augean herds are infinite insize and Hercules’ tasks now have a significant mentalcomponent (the twelve intellectual labors of Hercules?). Hehas to assist him the greatest of the Greek mathematicalminds, none other than Archimedes himself. Infinity – p.
  • Task OneAugeas orders Hercules to place a newly acquired horseinto his already full barn (with ℵ stalls), one horse to a stall. Infinity – p. 1
  • Task OneAugeas orders Hercules to place a newly acquired horseinto his already full barn (with ℵ stalls), one horse to a stall.Archimedes advises Hercules to move each horse to thenext higher stall n→n+1and then the first stall will be freed up for the new horse. Infinity – p. 1
  • Task OneAugeas orders Hercules to place a newly acquired horseinto his already full barn (with ℵ stalls), one horse to a stall.Archimedes advises Hercules to move each horse to thenext higher stall n→n+1and then the first stall will be freed up for the new horse.Working at compound double speed, Hercules completesthe task in eight minutes. Infinity – p. 1
  • The Arithmetic of NIf we add one horse to n horses, we obtain n + 1 horses. Inthe same way adding one horse to ℵ horses gives ℵ + 1horses. Infinity – p. 1
  • The Arithmetic of NIf we add one horse to n horses, we obtain n + 1 horses. Inthe same way adding one horse to ℵ horses gives ℵ + 1horses.Applying the method used by Archimedes and Hercules, weobserve that ℵ + 1 = ℵ. Infinity – p. 1
  • Task TwoIn his full mare-with-colt barn, Augeas orders Hercules toseparate the colts from their mothers and place each colt inits own stall. Infinity – p. 1
  • Task TwoIn his full mare-with-colt barn, Augeas orders Hercules toseparate the colts from their mothers and place each colt inits own stall.Archimedes advises Hercules to move the mare in stall n tostall 2n and put her colt just before her in stall 2n − 1. Forexample, the mare in stall 50 is moved to stall 100 and hercolt to stall 99. Infinity – p. 1
  • Task TwoIn his full mare-with-colt barn, Augeas orders Hercules toseparate the colts from their mothers and place each colt inits own stall.Archimedes advises Hercules to move the mare in stall n tostall 2n and put her colt just before her in stall 2n − 1. Forexample, the mare in stall 50 is moved to stall 100 and hercolt to stall 99.Working at compound double speed, Hercules completesthe task in one hour. At the end the mares occupy the evennumbered stalls and the colts the odd numbered. Infinity – p. 1
  • More ArithmeticIf we have n colts and n mares, then we have in total n + nhorses. In the same way ℵ colts plus ℵ mares gives ℵ + ℵhorses. Infinity – p. 1
  • More ArithmeticIf we have n colts and n mares, then we have in total n + nhorses. In the same way ℵ colts plus ℵ mares gives ℵ + ℵhorses.Again using the rearrangement method applied byArchimedes and Hercules, we observe that ℵ + ℵ = ℵ. Infinity – p. 1
  • Task 3On the back part of his property Augeas has built a brandnew stable. He wants Hercules to move all the horses fromall of his stables (ℵ stables with ℵ horses in each) into theone new stable, with one horse per stable, a seeminglyimpossible task. Infinity – p. 1
  • Many BarnsBelow is the scheme. Each row represents an old barn,with entry (4, 3), for instance, representing the 3rd horse inthe 4th barn. Infinity – p. 1
  • Many BarnsBelow is the scheme. Each row represents an old barn,with entry (4, 3), for instance, representing the 3rd horse inthe 4th barn. (1, 1) (1, 2) (1, 3) (1, 4) . . . (2, 1) (2, 2) (2, 3) (2, 4) . . . (3, 1) (3, 2) (3, 3) (3, 4) . . . (4, 1) (4, 2) (4, 3) (4, 4) . . . (5, 1) (5, 2) . . . Infinity – p. 1
  • Stall 1 is FilledAfter consider thought, Archimedes suggests a scheme.The first horse in Barn 1 goes to Stall 1 in the new barn. (1, 1)1 → (1, 2) (1, 3) (1, 4) . . . (2, 1) (2, 2) (2, 3) (2, 4) . . . (3, 1) (3, 2) (3, 3) (3, 4) . . . (4, 1) (4, 2) (4, 3) (4, 4) . . . (5, 1) (5, 2) . . . Infinity – p. 1
  • Stall 2 is FilledThe second horse in Barn 1 goes to Stall 2 in the new barn. (1, 1)1 → (1, 2)2 (1, 3) (1, 4) ... ւ (2, 1) (2, 2) (2, 3) (2, 4) ... (3, 1) (3, 2) (3, 3) (3, 4) ... (4, 1) (4, 2) (4, 3) (4, 4) . . . (5, 1) (5, 2) ... Infinity – p. 1
  • Stall 3 is FilledThe first horse in Barn 2 goes to Stall 3 in the new barn. (1, 1)1 → (1, 2)2 (1, 3) (1, 4) ... ւ (2, 1)3 (2, 2) (2, 3) (2, 4) ... ↓ (3, 1) (3, 2) (3, 3) (3, 4) ... (4, 1) (4, 2) (4, 3) (4, 4) . . . (5, 1) (5, 2) ... Infinity – p. 1
  • Stalls 4 through 6We proceed along the next diagonal to place the next 3horses. (1, 1)1 → (1, 2)2 (1, 3)6 → (1, 4) ւ ր (2, 1)3 (2, 2)5 (2, 3) (2, 4) ↓ ր (3, 1)4 (3, 2) (3, 3) (3, 4) ... (4, 1) (4, 2) (4, 3) (4, 4) . . . (5, 1) (5, 2) ... Infinity – p. 1
  • Stalls 7 through 10We proceed along the next diagonal to place the next 4horses. (1, 1)1 → (1, 2)2 (1, 3)6 → (1, 4)7 ւ ր ւ (2, 1)3 (2, 2)5 (2, 3)8 (2, 4) ↓ ր ւ (3, 1)4 (3, 2)9 (3, 3) (3, 4) . . . ւ (4, 1)10 (4, 2) (4, 3) (4, 4) . . . ↓ (5, 1) (5, 2) ... Infinity – p. 2
  • And So ForthWe continue traversing the diagonals by this pattern,eventually reaching and assigning all horses to stalls. (1, 1)1 → (1, 2)2 (1, 3)6 → (1, 4)7 ւ ր ւ ր (2, 1)3 (2, 2)5 (2, 3)8 (2, 4)14 ↓ ր ւ ր ւ (3, 1)4 (3, 2)9 (3, 3)13 (3, 4) ւ ր ւ ր (4, 1)10 (4, 2)12 (4, 3) (4, 4) . . . ↓ ր ւ ր ւ (5, 1)11 (5, 2) . . . Infinity – p. 2
  • Multiplication by InfinityIf we had eight barns with 7 horses each, then we wouldhave a total of 8 × 7 = 56 horses. Infinity – p. 2
  • Multiplication by InfinityIf we had eight barns with 7 horses each, then we wouldhave a total of 8 × 7 = 56 horses.Applying the same method for multiplying infinite quantities,we have just derived the following multiplication fact: ℵ × ℵ = ℵ. Infinity – p. 2
  • Larger Infinities?As we leave our heroes, we are left with a question. Are allinfinite sets of size ℵ? Cantor showed that the answer is no,which surprised many, who thought all infinities, were afterall, just infinity.The sets of size ℵ are the smallest of the infinite sets. Forthis reason, ℵ is denoted ℵ0 , the first of the infinite cardinalnumbers. Infinity – p. 2
  • More Cowherds Than CowsImagine a cow barn with ℵ0 cows, one in each stall1, 2, 3, . . . . Now imagine all possible different herds thatcould be formed by taking some of the cows into thepasture and leaving others behind, and suppose for eachpossible herd there was a different cowherd to attend thatspecific herd. Then the number of cowherds needed is alarger infinity than ℵ0 . Infinity – p. 2
  • More Cowherds Than CowsImagine a cow barn with ℵ0 cows, one in each stall1, 2, 3, . . . . Now imagine all possible different herds thatcould be formed by taking some of the cows into thepasture and leaving others behind, and suppose for eachpossible herd there was a different cowherd to attend thatspecific herd. Then the number of cowherds needed is alarger infinity than ℵ0 .In math jargon, the set of all possible subsets of the setN = {1, 2, 3, . . .} is strictly larger in size than ℵ0 . Cantor gavea beautiful and surprising proof of this result called“Cantor’s diagonal argument.” You can google to find it atseveral sites on the web. Infinity – p. 2
  • ConclusionThe study of large infinite cardinal numbers remains anactive area of mathematical research to the current day. Infinity – p. 2
  • ConclusionThe study of large infinite cardinal numbers remains anactive area of mathematical research to the current day. General ReferencesRudy Rucker, Infinity and the Mind, Princeton UniversityPress, 1982.N. Ya. Vilenkin, In Search of Infinity, Birkhäuser, 1995. Infinity – p. 2