The first set of importance is a singleton consisting of the German Georg Cantor
, the second set is a singleton consisting of the German David Hilbert.
Artists Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna spent three weeks travelling to locations cited in the novel, from Cambridge where Russell studied, to London, Paris, Vienna and the sanatorium in Halle, Germany, where one of his heroes, mathematician Georg Cantor
, spent the last months of his life.
It begins with Georg Cantor
, whose work proved the foundation for much of 20th-century mathematics.
The BT paradoxes occur only within an abstract system of mathematics which deals with what are called "transfinite sets"--sets first recognized by the great German mathematician Georg Cantor
While Wallace appreciates his subject, he is somewhat puckish in recounting the accomplishments of Georg Cantor
and other mathematicians who were pivotal in defining the inherently indefinable.
1) Georg Cantor
, "Beitrage zur Begrundung der transfiniten Mengenlehre," Mathematische Annalen 46 (1895): 481; Georg Cantor
Gesammelte Abhandlungen mathematischen und philosophischen Inhalts, ed.
However, in work that astonished the mathematicians of his day, the Russian-born Georg Cantor
proved in 1873 that the real numbers (all the numbers that make up the number line) form a bigger infinity than the counting numbers do.