Infinity and Proof

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3rd Workshop of the the

Community for Mathematics Content in Teaching

Term 3 2008

Department of Mathematics, 38 Princes Street, Auckland CBD



Wednesday evenings from 6:15 till 8:15. Dates 3rd September, 10th September, 17th September and 24th September. )


Seminar Room 222, 38 Princes Street, 2nd floor (Science Centre - Building 303).


The idea of infinity is often associated with a sense of incomprehensible vastness and mystery, and is sometimes thought to be properly the subject of philosophy or theology rather than mathematics. It has been argued that notions of infinity cannot be comprehended by our finite human brains.

In this series of four workshops we will see how simple ideas from mathematics allow us to get a firm grasp on some aspects of this slippery subject. We start with familiar, everyday ideas from our experience of finite numbers and make them mathematically precise, then see what the consequences are for our understanding of the infinite. We will show, for instance, that there are different sizes of infinity and that there is no largest infinity.

The approach we take, of making familiar ideas precise and exploring the consequences for unfamiliar territory, is a powerful technique for tackling vagueness and mystery in mathematics and elsewhere in our everyday lives.


Parking is available at $5 per night at the Owen Glenn building in Grafton Rd very near the intersection with Symonds St (about a 5 minute walk from the Science Centre where the workshops are run)

Invited speaker(s)

Dr Vivien Kirk (Mathematics) will lead a series of four workshops on developing ways of getting our minds around a really big idea – Infinity.


All interested teachers of Mathematics - or people who are interested in teaching and learning mathematics.


Contact Dr Judy Paterson to enrol for the workshop or to be put on the direct mailing list or call 3737599 ext 88605.

Follow this link for more details on this workshop.


Judy Paterson

Announce this event on the main Mathematics webpage
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