MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Cap and Gown (2011)
Eric Flint
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Richard Leamington has an impact on mathematics at Cambridge University in the 17th Century despite his multiple sclerosis. Although Leamington himself is a fictional character, many of the other characters in this story are based on historical figures. Nevertheless, the story is entirely fantastical in that it is based on the premise (introduced in an earlier book in the series) that entire town of Grantville, West Virginia from the year 2000 has appeared in England in the year 1632.

Although there is a lot of discussion about teaching and translating math, I was disappointed that there was nothing said about discovering any math through research. (Perhaps that is because it focuses on the information brought back in time from Grantville to England, but I would have been interested in seeing something about it.) In addition, there is also a small error where a character says that Foucault's Pendulum demonstrates the truth of the Copernican model of the solar system. It seems to me that the pendulum does demonstrate that the Earth is rotating on its axis, but says nothing about its motion around the sun.

Aside from those minor complaints, this is a fine short story about academia with a bit of a time-travel twist to it.

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Works Similar to Cap and Gown
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
  2. In The Country of the Blind by Michael Flynn
  3. The Shiloh Project by David R. Beaucage
  4. The Bones of Time by Kathleen Ann Goonan
  5. Newton's Gift by Paul J. Nahin
  6. Arcadia by Iain Pears
  7. The Kingdom of Ohio by Matthew Flaming
  8. Conceiving Ada by Lynn Hershman-Leeson
  9. Oracle by Greg Egan
  10. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Ratings for Cap and Gown:
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.
Mathematical Content:
3/5 (1 votes)
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Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction, Science Fiction,
MotifAcademia, Time Travel, Math Education,
Topic
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)