Almanac: The forever symbol

And now a page from a “Sunday Morning” Almanac: Dec 3, 1616, 401 years ago currently — a large day for arithmetic … a very, VERY large day.

For that day saw a birth in England of John Wallis, a mathematician credited with formulating a pitch for forever (∞).

Although Pythagoras and other ancient Greeks wrestled with infinity, it wasn’t until a 1600s that Wallis and Sir Isaac Newton, among others, began evenly study a concept.

Variously tangible as “endless” or “unlimited,” forever creates paradoxes that can truly boggle a mind.

As a mathematician Dr. James Grimes explains, “there are opposite kinds of infinity. Some infinities are bigger than others.”

In a video from on a Numberphile website, Dr. Grimes starts to write down all a certain numbers, and afterwards starts a second quarrel that includes a disastrous numbers: “In some clarity it’s twice as big, ’cause there seems to be twice as many numbers, though it is forever as well.”

Infinity is bigger than we consider – Numberphile by
Numberphile on

Just one instance of how forever formidable forever can be.

Still, when it comes to a awesomeness of a concept, it’s tough to urge on a aphorism popularized by charcterised spaceman Buzz Lightyear in a film “Toy Story”: “To infinity, and beyond!”

We couldn’t have pronounced it improved ourselves.


Buzz Lightyear and Woody in “Toy Story.”

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