Fractal Tree  
 
||  WHERE WE ARE GOING   ||         ||  HOW WE WILL KNOW WE GOT THERE   ||         ||  STOPS ALONG THE WAY   ||         ||  THE GUIDE   ||        ||  INSPIRATIONS   ||

 

 

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M.C. Escher - Snakes"Just follow that line forever,” said the Mathemagician, “and when you     
reach the end, turn left.  There you’ll find the land of Infinity,     
where the tallest, the shortest, the biggest,     
the smallest, and the most and the     
least of everything are     
kept.”     

N. Jester, The Phantom Tollbooth     




This thing we call infinity fills our dreams and sparks our imaginations, yet it lies just beyond our reach, lurking in the shadows, evading our questions.  Our curiosity compels us to ask: what is infinity?  Whether it is something innumerable, something vast, or eternal, infinity shapes our philosophies and religions, influences our arts and literatures, and drives our mathematics and sciences.  Blake sees infinity in a grain of sand; van Gogh glimpses it in starry nights; Cantor unlocks infinities within infinities; and Hawking finds it in the dark corners of our Universe.  In this class, we will imagine the infinite and the infinitesimal by looking through the eyes of these and other great thinkers.

Falling from Infinity is designed with a number of learning objectives in mind. Some focus on tangible knowledge and skills while others are more abstract and long-term.

 

 


All learning activities in the course rely on and/or build upon one or more of these objectives.  The overriding goal for the course is for you to begin to think critically about how people in different disciplines imagine infinity and to begin to shape your own view of infinity.  In the process, you will:

  • understand and be able to identify the various types of infinity
  • compare and contrast different visions of infinity
  • critically analyze literature, poetry and images
  • write thoughtful, critical reflections on the works encountered in the course
  • appreciate how different disciplines make sense of infinity
  • contribute productively to the on-going discussion about infinity
  • begin to form and creatively express your own vision of infinity