Re: The Big Bang

Nicholas Bostrom (
Wed, 5 Nov 1997 12:54:50 +0000

John K Clark wrote:

> The rules
> for infinite arithmetic were discovered by the German Mathematician
> George Cantor (1845-1918). Today he is universally recognized as
> one of the greatest mathematicians in the last 100 years, but during
> most of his lifetime he was thought a fool by his colleagues and
> treated quite shabbily.

He suffered from schizophrenia, I have read, so it must have been
easy for a causual observer to dismiss him as a crackpot & madman.
There seems to have been a large number of outstanding logicians
that had, or were redarded as having, psychological problems
(Goedel starved himself to death because of paranoia, Russell
suffered from depression, Whitehead was on the brink of nervous
breakdown, Turing was regarded as psychologically disturbed because
of his homosexuality. I'm sure somebody could make the list much
longer, but it might well just be a coincidence.

> Cantor proved that the number of integers, call it A, is the smallest
> cardinal number.

That is to say, the smallest *infinite* cardinal number. There are
also finite cardinal numbers.

Nick Bostrom