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The Mathematics of the Infinitely Big

Adrian Moore explores the struggles of the mathematicians who tried to find a way of reckoning with infinity.

Adrian Moore continues his exploration of two and a half millennia of philosophical thought on infinity.

In episode six, we meet the brilliant but tortured German mathematician, Georg Cantor, who devised a way of distinguishing between infinitely big numbers and of performing calculations with them.

His work was revolutionary but, as Adrian discovers, it greatly polarised opinion amongst his late nineteenth and early twentieth century contemporaries - and we hear how Cantor himself suffered a complete breakdown in his mental health.

As Adrian takes us with him deep into the world of infinite set theory, he enlists the help of Mary Leng, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at York University, and four very familiar twentieth century friends.

A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

15 minutes