The Monitor's View The awards and rewards of grasping infinity

Two mathematicians who made a breakthrough in understanding infinity were recently given a medal. Their work itself reflects an unbounded progress in explanations of reality.

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With so much news being about the scarcity of things, it may be easy to overlook news about infinity, or rather our understanding of it. In July, two scholars were awarded one of the highest honors in math for solving a problem that has stumped mathematicians for seven decades: whether two variations of infinity expressed in sets of numbers are the same. It turns out they are. Not only was the proof a surprise and an elegant one, it may bring practical applications.