[ASC-list] BrisScience Reminder : Numbers: From -1 to 2 raised to the power of infinity 14 December 2009

Lynelle Ross l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au
Wed Dec 9 01:53:36 UTC 2009

Monday 14 December, 2009
Numbers: From -1 to 2 raised to the power of infinity
Presented by Dr Daryl Cooper, University of California, Santa Barbara

One cornerstone of mathematics is the concept of number. We learn in  
primary school that when you multiply two negative numbers the answer  
is positive. A few years back a prominent columnist claimed that this  
was wrong and that the answer is really negative. We will start by  
explaining why the answer is indeed positive. This explanation  
illustrates a key stepping stone for tonight’s lecture: all numbers  
are abstractions. From here we will explain exactly what infinity is,  
how to do basic arithmetic with infinity, why there are different  
sizes of infinity, and why 2 raised to the power infinity is always  
bigger than the infinity you first thought of!

Two lessons come from this. First one must have a very  precise  
understanding of a concept before trying to reason about it. Second,  
and perhaps most importantly: advanced mathematics is full of  
amazingly beautiful and intriguing ideas, some of which are far  
crazier than the weirdest science fiction, or the most bizarre  
hallucinations. However these ideas are as real and certain as that  

     * Time: 6:30pm to 7:30pm (Doors open at 6pm)
     * Venue: Ithaca Auditorium, Brisbane City Hall
     * Refreshments: There will be complimentary drinks and nibblies  
following the talk, and Daryl will be available to answer any questions.
     * Questions? Contact Lynelle (l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au)

We wish all our members a fantastic and safe break and we hope to see  
you all in 2010 for another great year of BrisScience. We will be in  
touch in January with details of the series.

To join or leave our mailing list please email l.ross at smp.uq.edu.au or  
visit BrisScience at www.BrisScience.org
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 From your friendly BrisScience Co-ordinators, Joel, Andrew and Lynelle
c/o School of Mathematics and Physics,
The University of Queensland,
Brisbane Australia, 4072
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