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A Brief History of Infinity - BBC Radio Science Documentary - cheops

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Human beings have trouble with infinity - yet infinity is a surprisingly human s
ubject. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone insane contemplating its natur
e and complexity - yet it is a concept routinely used by schoolchildren.
Presented by the renowned astronomer Heather Couper, these programmes take the l
istener on a journey with an endless audio horizon and feature contributions fro
m musicians who write endless music; science fiction authors, who create infinit
e worlds and timeless beings; theologians; Buddhist lamas; astro-physicists and
mathematicians.
It is infinity... in a nutshell.
Two episodes of approximately 25 minutes each.
Part One: Space and the Universe
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This first programme takes us outside the known universe, and tries to measure w
hether it has a beginning and end.
If a star is a fixed number of light years away, how do we know if there is anyt
hing lurking beyond the stars which will not show itself to a human being on ear
th for several more light years? Are we more comfortable with the finite? Is thi
s why we developed theories like Big Bang to explain things we don't know in siz
es which we do know?
A group of experts show how the human mind prefers to stop short of a total acce
ptance of the truly "without end".
Supersize, it seems, has to stop somewhere!
Part Two: Mathematics
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Imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. Even if the hotel is completel
y full and there are no vacancies, another guest can be easily accommodated...
This is just one of the fascinating insights that Heather Couper will be explori
ng in the second part of her quest to think the unthinkable.
She is joined by mathematicians, psychologists, Sci Fi writers, theologians and
a room full of monkeys to try and grasp a handle on how infinity can be seen in
our world. The programme looks at how infinity has troubled some of the greatest
minds and thinkers, with sometimes deadly consequences. We also learn how Infin
ity drove one such mathematician to the brink of sanity. Scary stuff indeed. But
the entire concept of infinity in mathematics is maddening, and the deeper we g
o, the stranger the results become.
Infinity has also played an important part in the arts. Heather explores the mus
ic of Steve Reich, Michael Nyman and Philip Glass to see how endless repetition
has inspired these great composers.
Join Heather on this tour of an endless audio horizon, where 1=0 and 2 is just a
number bigger than 1.
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Type : mpeg 1 layer III
Bitrate : 128
Mode : joint stereo
Frequency : 44100 Hz
Encoder : Lame 3.95
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