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The Infinite Hotel Paradox - Jeff Dekofsky


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TEDEd Animation

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The Infinite Hotel, a thought experiment created by German mathematician David Hilbert, is a hotel with an infinite number of rooms. Easy to comprehend, right? Wrong. What if it’s completely booked but one person wants to check in? What about 40? Or an infinitely full bus of people? Jeff Dekofsky solves these heady lodging issues using Hilbert’s paradox.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

The concept of infinity has fascinated humans since ancient times.The first known reference comes from the 5th century B.C.E. Wikipedia presents many interesting facts and applications of the concepts of both potential infinity (as used in Calculus for example) and actual infinity (as used in Set Theory).
Dennis Wildfogel also created an original TED-Ed lesson on the concept of actual infinity. You can watch it here.
Another great place to watch videos on infinity and other number related concepts is Numberphile.
Here are a few of their specific videos dealing with infinity, prime numbers, etc.:
In addition to online resources, there are also some outstanding books dealing with the concept of infinity. Here is a very short list that I would highly recommend:
The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless by John Barrow
The Mystery of the Aleph: Mathematics, the Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity by Amir D. Aczel
To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite by Eli Maor

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Jeff Dekofsky
  • Director Nadav Arbel
  • Artist Yoni Boaz
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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