Questions from the New York Times Article, The Life of Pi

  1. What are some examples of infinite quantities given by the author?

The author gives the following examples in order; Time, done to indicate that we don’t have a start nor an end that we know of yet; the Cosmos, indicated by the ever expanding size that many scientists believe our universe is doing; and your complete collection of old playbills, likely done as a joke on behalf of the increasing debt of many countries.

  1. How could one infinity be larger than another? What example does the author use?

There are different forms of infinities that come in different forms and sizes for different purposes, such as the infinite nonrepeating decimals of Pi, these have a value of 3.14159 and so on. Whereas Infinity is also used in calculus to represent different diggers.

  1. What does the mathematician Steven Strogatz mean when he says “infinity is your friend?”

Steven Strogatz is implying that Infinity is not there just to make mathematicians confused about the concepts of numbers that go on forever, but it is there to help solve problems that many people have, that require a solution.

  1. What does the mathematician Ian Stewart mean when he says “You can’t be freewheeling in your use of infinity?”

Ian Stewart is stating that infinity should not be just thrown around as an everyday number, as he states “If you treat infinity like a normal number you come up with all sorts of nonsense, like saying, infinity plus one is equal to infinity,”. This is trying to say to us that infinity is not a number but a concept that is created, and thus should be treated as a concept and not as a number,

  1. What is a doppelgänger, and why does the existence of an infinite universe suggest yours might exist?

The idea of a doppelganger is that there is a finite number of galaxies and systems that can be created. There for if you take these finite number of possible galaxy’s and you have an infinitely expanding universe creating an infinite number of planets. Then the system must have multiples of those finite possibilities thus, making there be a multiple of this current galaxy we are in thus creating another version of you. The same idea can be applied to situations which have multiple possibilities that there must be a galaxy that this outcome happens in.