“The Infinite Book” by John D. Barrow

The Infinite Book by John D. Barrow, a Mathematics professor at Cambridge University is all about infinity, how the concept first came about, what we mean by it, and how relevant it is to modern science, mathematics and astronomy, plus some of the less obvious subjects such as mythology and philosophy.

Despite the fact that I love maths, I only studied to A level standard, so I always approach the popular science genre books relating to maths with slight trepidation, as I worry they may be beyond me. I needn’t have worried before starting The Infinite Book as Barrow writes simply but without patronising, coherently and with enthusiasm, which makes for an entertaining and educating read.

There were chapters I did struggle with, and those were the ones dedicated to cosmology. I have to admit, as much as I love maths, when it comes to astronomy and cosmology, the concepts I struggle with. It’s not that I don’t understand them, but I find it very overwhelming to realise how small I am, we are, and this planet Earth we call home is, and how our whole lives are less than the blink of an eye in terms of the lifetime in the universe. But that is a very personal opinion about those sections of the book, and I’m sure anyone who gets to grips with those concepts would enjoy those chapters too.

On the whole then, a fascinating subject written with a light hearted enough touch to deliver knowledge in an entertaining read.


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