a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

Let Newton Be! (2011)
Craig Baxter

The three actors in this play portray Isaac Newton at three different stages of his life, as well as occasionally representing other people. Interestingly, the three Newton's interact with each other, which may be a reference to the three-body problem as well as reminding me of The Ah of Life. Even more interestingly, Baxter did not so much write the play as patch it together, since it is claimed that all of the dialogue was taken directly from texts written by Newton and his contemporaries.

I have not seen the show (which opened at the Menagerie Theatre in the UK and then toured North America in 2011), nor have I read the script. I have only read a few reviews. From these, it seems reasonable to conclude that there is only a bit of math in the play, which of course also focuses on physics, religion and alchemy. Yet, there does seem to be enough to justify including an entry for this show in this database. In particular, in addition to brief discussion of the derivation of elliptic orbits for planets from the famous equation F=ma, the question of whether the credit for the creation of calculus should go to Leibniz or Newton is addressed, though it apparently quickly turns into a theological debate. If you were lucky enough to see the show or read the script, please write to me with your comments so that I can post them here.

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Let Newton Be!
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Leap by Lauren Gunderson
  2. Newton's Hooke by David Pinner
  3. An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson
  4. Verrechnet by Carl Djerassi / Isabella Gregor
  5. Calculus (Newton's Whores) by Carl Djerassi
  6. The Mathematician's Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer
  7. Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle Volume 1 by Neal Stephenson
  8. Turbulence by Giles Foden
  9. La formule de Stokes, roman by Michele Audin
  10. The Lady's Code by Samantha Saxon
Ratings for Let Newton Be!:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.


GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifReal Mathematicians, Newton,
TopicAnalysis/Calculus/Differential, Mathematical Physics,

Home All New Browse Search About

May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)