Why is ∞⋅0\infty \cdot 0 not clearly equal to 00?

I did a bit of math at school and it seems like an easy one – what am I missing?

n×m=n+n++nm times

n×0=0+0++0n times=0

(i.e add 0 to 0 as many times as you like, result is 0)

So I thought an infinite number of 0‘s cannot be anything but 0? But someone claims different but couldn’t offer a reasonable explanation why. Google results seemed a bit iffy on the subject – hopefully this question will change that.

Answer

The problem is that the laws of addition and multiplication you are using hold for natural numbers, but infinity is not a natural number, so these laws do not apply. If they did, you could use a similar argument that multiplying anything by infinity, no matter how small, gives infinity, thus ×0=. More sophisticated arguments can also be made, like ×0=limx(x×1/x)=1. Clearly all these different values for \infty \times 0 mean that \infty cannot be treated like other numbers.

In order to work with infinity, you must first define it. You may think you know what infinity is, but really you don’t have a concrete definition. In fact, there are many different definitions of infinity that you could use, each of which result in different behaviors. For example, the real projective line has a concept of infinity such that 1/\infty = 0, while when talking about infinite sets one uses cardinal numbers (another type of infinity) to represent the sizes of these sets. You must make it clear what infinity you are talking about in order to work with it.

In summary, the expression \infty \times 0 using multiplication defined for the natural numbers does not have any meaning, so it cannot be said to be equal to 0.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : Ashley Schroder , Answer Author : Alex Becker

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