Arts Life & Philosophy Science

The infinity symbol “∞”


Some people are better thinking in symbols rather than words. For French inventor Philipe Starck, that symbol was “∞” for infinity, designed by English mathematician John Wallis in 1655:

For me, it is the most intelligent piece of graphic design in the world. To say something in a complicated way is very easy. But to find a way to say it simply – that takes a lot of work.

The infinity symbol is a paradox: it solidifies a number in absolute terms to illustrate something that never ends. As Starch puts it, infinity “is about the fight we have with ourselves to try to understand more and more.”

Infinity is too impossible to count. The simple representation provides both a temporary relief and impetus for a more in-depth understanding of something that goes beyond comprehension.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.