Speaker Name(s): Miroslav Lovric, PhD
Description: Infinity has many faces. Sometimes, we perceive it as a "number" larger than all numbers. For indigenous people of Australia and New Guinea, infinity begins at seven. Infinity for Van Gogh was a vast, unending plane, on which imagination is given free rein. For the Moors, creators of exquisite mosaics and patterns whose sophistication has never been surpassed, infinity was a repetition of a single artistic motif. This lecture will sketch a cultural history of infinity, spanning thousands of years including the amazingly straightforward concepts developed by mathematician George Cantor, that form the basis of our modern understanding of infinity. Cantor had the courage to look infinity into its eyes, and what he saw deeply shocked him. "I see it, but I do not believe it" he exclaimed as his discoveries, shook mathematics to its core. Cantor died in a mental institution. What drove him to insanity? Does infinity really exist? If so, where can we find it? Is our universe large enough to encompass infinity?