Hilbert infinite hotel
Hilbert paradox, infinite hotel paradox, Hilbert hotel
A nice illustration of some of the simpler properties of (countably) infinite sets.
An infinite hotel with rooms numbered $1,2,\ldots$ can be full and yet have a room for an additional guest. Indeed, simply shift the existing guest in room $1$ to room $2$, the one in room $2$ to room $3$, etc. (in general, the one in room $n$ to room $n+1$), to free room $1$ for the newcomer.
There is also room for an infinity of new guests. Indeed, shift the existing guest in room $1$ to room $2$, the one in room $2$ to room $4$, etc. (in general, the one in room $n$ to room $2n$), to free all rooms with odd numbers for the newcomers.
These examples illustrate that an infinite set can be in bijective correspondence with a proper subset of itself. This property is sometimes taken as a definition of infinity (the Dedekind definition of infinity; see also Infinity).
|[a1]||H. Hermes, W. Markwald, "Foundations of mathematics" H. Behnke (ed.) et al. (ed.) , Fundamentals of Mathematics , 1 , MIT (1986) pp. 3–88 (Edition: Third)|
|[a2]||G.W. Erickson, J.A. Fossa, "Dictionary of paradox" , Univ. Press Amer. (1998) pp. 84|
|[a3]||L. Radhakrishna, "History, culture, excitement, and relevance of mathematics" Rept. Dept. Math. Shivaji Univ. (1982)|
Hilbert infinite hotel. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL: http://encyclopediaofmath.org/index.php?title=Hilbert_infinite_hotel&oldid=31696