Zero to Infinity

Marcus du Sautoy explores the diverse world of numbers The series where mathematician Marcus du Sautoy combines visual demonstrations with his unique gift for explanation.

In this programme, Marcus explains how humans first started counting with the whole numbers, 1, 2, 3, etc but then had to invent other numbers as their mathematical needs developed. He uses the game of chess to illustrate how quickly small numbers can grow into massive ones.

Marcus meets Dr Eleanor Robson who tells him how zero, as we know it, was invented by Indian mathematicians and revolutionised the way mathematics was done. But zero has its problems – try dividing anything by it and things go seriously wrong!

Marcus then takes us to Hilbert’s Hotel and reveals the mind-boggling mathematics of infinity, like the fact that infinity comes in different sizes. Marcus hopes to convince us that the universe of numbers is as diverse and splendid as the universe we live in.

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