University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Math Club
Hilbert's 1st Problem
Reed Solomon (UConn)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
5:45pm – 6:35pm

Storrs Campus
Monteith 226

In 1874, Georg Cantor discovered that infinite sets can come in different sizes: there are "just as many'' natural numbers as rational numbers but "more'' real numbers than natural numbers. Every infinite set of real numbers that Cantor knew was either the "same size'' as the natural numbers or the "same size'' as the real numbers. This led to the question of whether there could be an infinite set of real numbers that is "bigger'' than the natural numbers but "smaller'' than the real numbers. Cantor believed such sets did not exist, but he could not prove it. This became known as the Contintuum Hypothesis or Hilbert's First Problem.

The surprising solution to this problem (to the extent that there is a solution) came through a combination of work by Goedel in 1937 and Cohen in 1963. This talk will tell the story of this problem and the unexpected course it has taken since Cantor's initial explorations of sizes of infinity.

Note: Free pizza and drinks!


Keith Conrad

Math Club (primary), UConn Master Calendar

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