Our expert team of math educators and enthusiasts has spent over 40 years developing and refining the most powerful teaching methods and materials into the comprehensive, industry-leading Mathnasium Method™. These “Ask Education” features are a way for the Education team members to share their knowledge and love of math with our curious readers and fans.
Hi, Mathnasium! What is infinity?
~ Saakshi K.
Thanks for the question, Saakshi. Let us, in turn, ask a question: What is the largest number you can think of?
Now, add 1 to it. Is this number larger? Of course!
Infinity is the idea of real numbers being endless. Infinity is not a number. It is a concept representing a quantity with no bounds.
Infinity is greater than any real number, so there is no “biggest” number. Whereas “finite” means we could eventually count to an end, infinite (or not finite) means never-ending and indefinite. Think about a line — it extends in both directions without end and contains an infinite number of points.
Since infinity does not behave the same way numbers do, it can be hard to comprehend. We will explore a few properties of infinity to help you understand this mysterious wonder.
The symbol “∞”, (called the lemniscate), is used to denote infinity. It looks like a sideways 8. Similarly, there is a concept called negative infinity, which is less than any real number. The symbol “-∞” is used to denote negative infinity.