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MATHEMATICAL PARADOX

A child is standing on a very small table (trying to reach onto something).

Mother enters the room. (looks angrily)

Mother : What are you doing Gaurav, you will fall?

Child (with a puzzled expression on his face): I am trying to get that jar from the upper rack.

Mother: You should have called for me help.

Child thinking about a past experience. (A thought bubble appears)

(In the thought bubble)

Mother to Child: Gaurav, First you should try to do your own work then ask for help.

Narrator (surprised): That Child is confused. So am I. What should he do? Should he ask for help or
should he not? Was there a contradiction in the statement? Or you can say a paradox in the
mathematical term. Paradox is a statement or proposition which, despite sound (or apparently sound)
reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems logically unacceptable or self-
contradictory. Let’s make this simpler.
(End of introduction)

Narrator standing in the next scene with a hare and a tortoise running to finish up the race.

(The scene is depicting hare running at a very fast speed and tortoise at slow speed but ahead of
hare)

Narrator (explains): Tortoise has started from 200m mark and hare from 0m mark.

(Showing the animation for hare moving to 0-200m mark and tortoise some distance ahead of it and
continuously zooming the distance between them)

By the time hare reaches 200m mark tortoise has already moved from some distance d ahead of
200m.Hare when reaches that 200+d mark tortoise has already moved from that d to d’. Whenever
hare reaches to the position of tortoise it has already moved to new position.

Narrator (Surprised): Can a hare never catch up to tortoise? But we all know a hare can outrun the
tortoise. This was a paradox given by Zeno. Zeno argued that we can always divide the distance b/w
two points to infinite number and hare will always have some distance to cover. But Zeno unlike us
didn’t have any idea that infinite series can add upto a finite number.

(Animation showing addition of 1/2+1/3+1/4+1/5………)

Narrator pointing to Number series: We Know that It will always add upto 1.

Narrator (sigh of relief): At that 1, hare will catch upto tortoise. So yes, hare will pass the tortoise at
some point of time. This Paradox was falsidical. It was because of some underlining fallacy so it
appeared contradictory but it never was.

Narrator(explains): This Paradox was false but in the vice versa cases, there are paradoxes which
appear completely false and absurd but are actually true. We will talk about them next time.
Narrator (finishing scene): Before going away I have a Question for you. I am stating that “I am
lying”. Am I speaking truth or lie? What is the probability for each? If you end up solving it, you have
ended the one of world’s oldest paradox and revolutionised the mathematical reasoning.
Congratulations!