MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Needle in a Haystack (2002)
Tom DeMarco
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

A pretty funny, silly story about a tailor with a mathematical bent who loses a needle in a haystack. Quite despondent about his chances of finding it, he decides to be mathematically rigorous in his search, by first formulating it as a well-defined problem in probability. Just then, a princess, who is not used to mathematics but quick on the uptake, shows up and offers to help. She recasts the problem as finding hay in a needlestack [and then setting n=1 as the order of the needlestack for the current problem]. After some jousting with mathematical symbols, she produces one straw of hay. The tailor then finds the needle but loses the princess, in a tickling twist to the tale in the final 3 sentences.

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Works Similar to The Needle in a Haystack
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
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  2. Le théorème de Travolta by Olivier Courcelle
  3. The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner
  4. What Are the Odds? by Justin Spitzer (writer) / Matthew Tritt (director)
  5. Thinking of Leaving Your Husband? by Charlotte Cory
  6. Numbers Don't Lie by Terry Bisson
  7. Rumpled Stiltskin by Colin Adams
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  9. The Legend of Howard Thrush by Alex Kasman
  10. Victoria Martin: Math Team Queen by Kathryn Walat (playwright)
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Categories:
GenreHumorous,
MotifRomance,
Topic
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)