Travels with John Conway, in 258 Septillion Dimensions

The New York Times examines Conway’s legacy of numerical gamesmanship.

All of this gaming could be classified as serious research, of course; as both player and spectator, Dr. Conway was analyzing games, observing strategy and classifying the moves available to each player. He noticed that games behaved like numbers, and numbers like games. This led to his theory of surreal numbers — a huge new number system containing not only all the real numbers, but also a boggling collection of infinites and infinitesimals, like π minus 1 divided by the cube root of infinity.