As a boy I was fascinated with space travel. Perhaps it was growing up during the so-called ”˜space-race’ when the USSR competed with the USA to send a human into space or land a man on the moon. Although the Soviets won the initial stage with the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin they were soon eclipsed by the Americans, 12 of whom stepped onto the lunar surface.
My reading material reflected this fascination as I went through a series of library books with such gripping titles as Mission to Mercury, Voyage to Venus and Journey to Jupiter. At around that time, it must have been in the second half of junior school, I was introduced to the concept of infinity. The universe itself was presented as infinite and I can remember lying in bed thinking about the vastness of space and finding myself feeling afraid, pulling the bed covers over me as if that would make a difference!
Scientists do not now regard our universe as infinite, though the notion of ”˜multiverses’ ”“ the theory there may be an infinite number of other possible universes ”“ keeps the thought alive. Yet even if our universe may have bounds, its immensity is truly overwhelming and intimidating.