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  • 60-Second Adventures in Thought

  • Achilles and the Tortoise

  • How could a humble tortoise

  • beat the legendary Greek hero Achilles in a race?

  • The Greek philosopher Zeno liked a challenge

  • and came up with this paradox

  • First, the tortoise is given a slight head start

  • Anyone fancying a flutter

  • would still rush to put their money on Achilles

  • But Zeno pointed out that

  • to overtake him

  • Achilles would first have to cover the distance

  • to the point where the tortoise began

  • In that time the tortoise would have moved

  • so Achilles would have to cover that distance

  • giving the tortoise time to amble forwards a bit more

  • Logically this would carry on forever

  • However small the gap between them

  • the tortoise would still be able to move forwards

  • while Achilles was catching up

  • Meaning that Achilles could never overtake

  • Taken to an extreme

  • this bizarre paradox suggests

  • that all movement is impossible

  • But it did lead to the realization

  • that something finite can be divided

  • an infinite number of times

  • This concept of 'an Infinite Series' is used in finance

  • to work out mortgage payments...

  • Which is why they take

  • an infinite amount of time to pay off!

60-Second Adventures in Thought

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Achilles and the Tortoise - 60-Second Adventures in Thought (1/6)

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    VoiceTube posted on 2014/04/29
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