In the first half of the fourteenth chapter of Darwinâ€™s Watch, itâ€™s time to talk mathematics and infinity. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to read The Science of Discworld III.Â
So, I donâ€™t have any super personal stories or anecdotes to share in relation to the first half of this chapter. Which is okay in my book, since I canâ€™t relate to EVERYTHING here, and I donâ€™t want to force that sort of stuff. Thus, this is going to be on the shorter end of reviews. But that doesnâ€™t mean the content is less engaging. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was to read this chapter. Part of that was because, as the text admits, this is all a little ridiculous. On a day-to-day basis, itâ€™s not like many of us have a useful application for the concept of infinity. Often, we use it in a colloquial sense to me A WHOLE LOT, but I love that this chapter digs in to the notion of exactly how big that might be. The short answer: bigger than we can ever conceptualize. Becauseâ€”and I had truly never thought of it this wayâ€”no matter how big of a number we could define, we can always just add one and have a bigger number. So, why infinity? Why does infinity even matter?
One of the many things Iâ€™ll take away from these Science of Discworld books is that there ARE ways to educate people on complicated scientific or mathematical concepts and still keep it entertaining. Am I ever truly going to have a practical need to explain infinity or talk about David Hilbert or Georg Cantor? No, not really, but itâ€™s fucking COOL AS HELL to be able to talk about Hilbertâ€™s hotel or the concept of aleph-zero and how to denote bigger infinities through counting. Oh my god, Hilbertâ€™s Hotel was SO GREAT. And itâ€™s yet another thing that I had never heard of in any capacity anymore, and I feel like thatâ€™s something people would love to learn about, even if it doesnâ€™t really interest them? Itâ€™s so strange and fun, but it teaches a fantastic concept in the process. I think the googol is a great example of that. Thatâ€™s something I did learn about in school (not until late in high school, though), and I remember learning that it was the nephew of a mathematician who came up with the term. I remember because it was taught to me in a memorable way, and I imagine there are going to be things spread out throughout these four Science of Discworld books that Iâ€™ll remember for a while because of how it was told to me.Â
Thatâ€™s pretty damn cool. Anyway, Iâ€™m eager to see if the next section does indeed talk about the science behind multiverse theory. A certain film has come out recently that I want to apply this kind of science to, but Iâ€™ll say no more because: spoilers!
Mark Links Stuff
– The paperback edition of my debut, ANGER IS A GIFT, is now OUT!Â If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.