History of Mathematics : Where Does the Mathematical Sign For Infinity Come From?


Hi I’m Steve Jones, and I’m going to explain
why the infinity sign doesn’t take an infinite amount of time to explain. It is actually
very simple. It is actually this symbol which we call the infinity sign is usually written
in this way. It’s called a Lemniscate, and it in Latin it means ribbon. And it was invented
in Sixteen sixty-five by John Wallis. Now if you take a piece of paper, just a long
strip of paper. And if you draw a line down it on one side, turn it over and draw a line
down it again on the other side. You have a single piece of paper with two lines on
it. But if you’re now very clever and join the ends of that together in a figure of eight
and twist it as you do it, that’ll give you the two figure of eight. You will find that
you can trace your red line continuously round the object without ever stopping because that
line transfers from one side to the other because you’ve twisted it. And so this was
a representation of infinity, a mobius strip it’s called. And it means it’s a piece of
paper which has two surfaces of course but actually only has one surface. And therefore
it has an infinitely long surface.

Comments 8

  • I am not sure if you serious but surely you will find it useful to model any quantities in real world that keep on growing boundless. Let's say a computer program that goes on forever – as long as the computer has power and the components keep working, or a program that keeps going on forever and where the number of elementary operations it does continues to grow, causing it to crash when the resources run out. Infinity is a useful concept there, "approaching infinity" etc.

  • thanks

  • Ok, I am going to take a shot in the dark here and guess that you have never taken integral calculus? Because if you did then you would not be so ignorant of the usefulness of infinite series.

  • Infinite series.. I love the hypocrisy of such a name for something as logical as math. No one can ever see an entire infinite set so can we call them something else? How about quasi-infinite sets or semi-infinite ? How about douche-bag-I-think-im-God set because I see infinity? Only a fool would believe anything is certain beyond the scope of the universe.

  • I want to know why is it converging. To origin this symbol is a loop and why 1+2+3+4+…..=-1/12😵 if it is infinity

  • Thank you good sir!

  • John stole the symbol from ancient Egypt. The infinity symbol is the name of the Egyptian God HUH which was known as the God of Infinity. White people always steal and try to pass it on as their own. Thief.

  • Fuck you mr or miss teacher watching this video

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