Understanding Hilbert’s Grand Hotel Paradox

Long ago, in a land far away, there was a grand hotel where there were infinitely many rooms. This hotel was attended by a brilliant manager.

One night, a guest arrived, but  the hotel was full — each room was occupied by one guest. The newly arrived guest asked if a spare room was available. “Of course we have, we are the Infinite Grand Hotel. There is always a room for everyone,” the manager said proudly.

Now since each room was occupied by a guest, the manager requested the guest in Room 1 to move to Room 2, the guest in Room 2 to move to Room 3, the guest in Room 3 to move to Room 4, and so on. Basically, he told every guest in Room n to move to Room n + 1. Since the hotel had infinitely many rooms, there was no problem in moving, there was always a room to move to. This left Room 1 vacant, and therefore, the guest was accommodated. The guest was happy. The manager was happy.  » Read more

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