A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine suggested me a book to read in my free time. She wasn’t sure I will like the subject of it, but she told me I would totally like the conversations and some of the characters. She was right!! ^_^ The book is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Before you read the rest I have to say that there will be some spoilers (not major ones).
As I have stated before it was not my favorite type of book subject: romantic and cancer related is not my favorite. But the characters ( Hazel and Augustus) had an interesting view on life, on death and on their condition as cancer patients. Their conversations were quite interesting and fun. And, for my great surprise, I have found some mathematics in this book. It is nothing major, but I thought it was a great thing and I enjoyed those parts a lot.
The 1st concept was Zeno’s tortoise paradox. This is a very important paradox that lead to a lot of discoveries in mathematics regarding infinity and series. If you want to read more about the paradox the article: Zeno’s Paradox of the Tortoise and Achilles. Also, Wikipedia has an interesting article about all the Zeno’s paradoxes. In the book, there is an easy explanation of it, that I thought I should share it with you:
So Zeno is most famous for his tortoise paradox. Let us imagine that you are in a race with a tortoise. The tortoise has a ten-yard head start. In the time it takes you to run that ten yards, the tortoise has maybe moved one yard. And then in the time it takes you to make up that distance, the tortoise goes a bit farther, and so on forever. You are faster than the tortoise but you can never catch him, you can only decrease his lead.
Of course, you just run past the tortoise without contemplating the mechanics involved, but the question of how you are able to do this turns out to be incredibly complicated, and no one really solved it until Cantor showed us that some infinities are bigger than other infinities.
For the 2nd quote, I don’t have much to say but the fact that is in fact a love declaration and that I will omit as much as possible to don’t give much from the story:
I can’t talk about our love story, so I will talk about math. I am not a mathematician, but I know this: there are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. […] There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get […]. But […], my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days.
I was surprised to read these, but in the end it was a nice book to read and I enjoyed it. Thank you for reading. You can find me on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Twitter and Instagram, I will try to post there as often as possible. Don’t forget that maths is everywhere! Enjoy!