Infinity and Beyond

Weird things can happen with infinity—for one thing, it comes in different sizes. The concept of infinity has tantalized and sometimes troubled humankind for ages. In the 1600s, Galileo introduced a modern attitude toward the infinite by proposing that infinity should obey a different arithmetic from finite numbers. In late 19th century, German mathematician Georg Cantor put infinity on a firm logical foundation and demonstrated that infinity can have different sizes, making him one of the most assailed mathematicians in history. Though his work eventually revolutionized mathematics, his ideas were suppressed and he was imprisoned in mental institutions for most of his later life.


The Beverly Hilton
9876 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, California

Event Details

In this program, mathematician Robert Fefferman will discuss some of the weird and interesting problems posed by our efforts to understand infinity. Robert Fefferman is the Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Dean of the Physical Sciences Division.

Members of the Chicago Society, Harper Society, or Phoenix Society are welcome to attend free of charge, along with one guest, when registering in advance. To take advantage of this benefit, or to request more information, please email with your name, the name of your guest, and your contact information.

This lecture is part of the Harper Lecture series offered to the University community across the country and around the world by the University of Chicago Alumni Association. Named for the University's first President, William Rainey Harper, the series carries on his vision of broadly accessible and innovative education. For more information about educational opportunities (including study trips, online resources, and more), visit the alumni education resources page on the Alumni and Friends website.


$20/person general admission

$10/person for young alumni (Young alumni are College graduates of the past 10 years and professional school graduates of the past 5 years.)

Includes program and reception


Register Online

Register By Email
Register By Phone: 773.702.7788

Deadline: 4/22/2012


Harper Lectures