'Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.' - Douglas Adams, "Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy". We human beings have trouble with infinity - yet infinity is a surprisingly human subject. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone mad contemplating its nature and complexity - yet it is a concept routinely used by schoolchildren. Exploring the infinite is a journey into paradox. Here is a quantity that turns arithmetic on its head, making it feasible that 1 = 0. Here is a concept that enables us to cram as many extra guests as we like into an already full hotel. Most bizarrely of all, it is quite easy to show that there must be something bigger than infinity - when it surely should be the biggest thing that could possibly be. Brian Clegg takes us on a fascinating tour of that borderland between the extremely large and the ultimate that takes us from Archimedes, counting the grains of sand that would fill the universe, to the latest theories on the physical reality of the infinite. Full of unexpected delights, whether St Augustine contemplating the nature of creation, Newton and Leibniz battling over ownership of calculus, or Cantor struggling to publicise his vision of the transfinite, infinity's fascination is in the way it brings together the everyday and the extraordinary, prosaic daily life and the esoteric. Whether your interest in infinity is mathematical, philosophical, spiritual or just plain curious, this accessible book offers a stimulating and entertaining read.
Brian's most recent book is Extra Sensory. He has written many other science titles, including the bestselling Inflight Science, The God Effect, Before the Big Bang, Ecologic, A Brief History of Infinity, Build Your Own Time Machine, The Universe Inside You, Gravity and Dice World.
Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, UK, Brian read Natural Sciences (specializing in experimental physics) at Cambridge University. After graduating, he spent a year at Lancaster University where he gained a second MA in Operational Research, a discipline developed during the Second World War to apply mathematics and probability to warfare and since widely applied to business problem solving.
From Lancaster, he joined British Airways, where he formed a new department tasked with developing hi-tech solutions for the airline. His emphasis on innovation led to working with creativity guru Dr. Edward de Bono, and in 1994 he left BA to set up his own creativity consultancy, running courses on the development of ideas and the solution of business problems. His clients include the BBC, the Met Office, Sony, GlaxoSmithKline, the Treasury, Royal Bank of Scotland and many others.
Brian has also written regular columns, features and reviews for numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Observer, Playboy, Nature, The Times, Personal Computer World, BBC History, Good Housekeeping and House Beautiful. His books have been translated into many languages, including German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Norwegian, and Indonesian.
Brian has given sell-out lectures at the Royal Institution in London and has spoken at venues from Oxford and Cambridge Universities to Cheltenham Festival of Science. He has also contributed to radio and TV programs, and is a popular speaker at schools. Brian is also editor of the successful www.popularscience.co.uk book review site and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Brian lives in Wiltshire with his wife and twin children. When not writing, he spends time on music, having a passion for Tudor and Elizabethan church music.