Lecture 3 - Infinity and perspective

What does a race with a tortoise, renaissance art and a barber shop have to do with mathematics? – Christopher Zeeman explores these questions and more as he devotes his third lecture to the concept of infinity.

Although its use in common language is often vague, infinity is very important to mathematics and is used very precisely within a variety of contexts, from Greek paradoxes to the development of perspective in renaissance art.

It's usage is therefore dependent upon the context in which it is used. Zeeman outlines three typical examples:

  1. Zeno's Paradox of Achilles and the tortoise
  2. The Vanishing point of perspective painting
  3. The theory of infinite sets

Zeeman demonstrates the importance of infinity not only to mathematics, but also to the world of art, where its use in perspective is integral to conveying three dimensional spaces in two dimensional artworks. 






Sir Christopher Zeeman



All lectures in the series