Foundations of Mathematics

Set Theory

Where did the symbol for infinity originate?

Infinity is represented by the symbol ∞, a sign introduced by John Wallis in 1655 in his treatise, “De sectionibus conicus.” Historians believe that Wallis, a classical scholar, adopted the sign from the late Roman symbol for “1,000.” Whether it was from there or another source, the result was (and remains) the same: “a figure-eight on its side,” as many people call the infinity symbol.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Math Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App