Thursday, February 11, 2010

Infinity and other stuff - a couple of things worth watching

I'm watching Horizon's latest offering, To Infinity And Beyond, and I just have to write a short blog post about it: I couldn't forgive myself if I let this one get past you all.

If you're into thinking about the biggies- those questions that really make you think, then this is for you. This is the biggest of the biggies: Infinity. It explains the concept of infinity and its relevance to our world, our lives, and our universe. I won't say too much about it here because I won't do it justice, or I'll end up plagiarising, but if you're at all interested in mathematics, space, astronomy, cosmology, physics or any other aspect of science, then you really, really should set aside an hour to watch this. Go here to do so:

Thanks to Vivien (a maths teacher colleague) for bringing my attention to this! It's available until Wednesday 7th April 2010 and, I'll say again, really is worth it if the Big Questions are your bag.

For me, the concept of infinity is one of the most beautiful and most mind-bending aspects of mathematics, and one which is at once accessible and impossible to grasp. It can be explored by post-doctoral mathematicians and discussed by primary school children, amazing, engaging and baffling each in equal measure. I challenge anyone with any kind of intellectual curiosity about life, the universe and anything to not be intrigued by such a discussion.

And, just because I know this post will go out of date eventually, something to keep it alive! The following embedded video is absolutely bloody brilliant, clever beyond measure, and pant-wettingly funny. A few of my kids at school think that this is way beyond sliced bread in the 'things that are pretty darned good' category. Avoid viewing it at your peril: