Zeno's Paradox: Achilles and the Tortoise

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Zeno of Elea (circa 450 BC) is credited with creating several famous paradoxes, but by far the best known is the paradox of the tortoise and Achilles. A fleet-of-foot Achilles is unable to catch a plodding tortoise which has been given a head start, since during the time it takes Achilles to catch up to a given position, the tortoise has moved forward some distance. But this is obviously fallacious since Achilles will clearly pass the tortoise!

Contributed by: Jon McLoone (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



attempts — visualizes Achilles' successive attempts to catch up with the tortoise. You can see distances traveled by each participant after a fixed number of attempts.

time — shows a graph of the distance traveled by each participant as a function of time.

race — lets you see Achilles and the tortoise race!

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