MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Gödel Incomplete (2013)
Martha Goddard (Writer and Director)
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A 21st century physicist repeatedly travels back in time for short visits to the 20th century as a result of her experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. For completely unexplained reasons, she always ends up near Kurt Gödel (at various points in his life). Also inexplicably, they have an affair.

Perhaps it is difficult to tell a love story in a 13 minute short film. To me, it seemed as if she barely had met Gödel when they were suddenly in love and in bed together. There was no chance for us to see why they like each other.

The physicist has an opportunity to read about Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem on a webpage between her first and second meetings with him. And she talks to him about it, saying something like "the universe is infinite and we are finite and so how could we possibly understand it all?"

It actually is true that Gödel found an interesting rotating solution to Einstein's equations in which some trajectories eventually return to the same point in spacetime. (Contrary to what the film suggests at the end, this is not quite "time travel" where someone can go back to a desired moment in the past and then return to their original timeline, but it is a curious temporal phenomenon that exists within the framework of general relativity. See here for more information.) Oddly, in the movie this is presented both as if this was her idea -- she mentions it to a skeptical Kurt as they sit in front of a fire and he says "I wouldn't put my name on that" -- and also as if she learns about it by reading about his research into the subject on another webpage. So, ironically this is a time-loop it in that she and Kurt are able to construct this theory of time-loops together only because she read about it on a webpage about his discovery.

Maybe a longer version of this film could do more either with the time travel idea (which here is only cute the first time she meets him since it is not the first time he meets her) or with the ill-fated romance. As it is, neither one is capable of generating much interest or feeling. On the other hand, since the film is so short, it doesn't demand much from the viewer either. So, perhaps you ought to watch it to see if you like it more than I did. As of October 2018, at least, it is available on YouTube:

More information about this work can be found at www.imdb.com.
(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 Gödel Incomplete
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Gödel geht [Gödel's Exit] by Andreas Findig
  2. The Logic Pool by Stephen Baxter
  3. The Ah of Life by Banks Helfrich (Writer and Director)
  4. The Arrows of Time [Orthogonal Book Three] by Greg Egan
  5. River of Gods by Ian McDonald
  6. Gödel's Sunflowers by Stephen Baxter
  7. The God Patent by Ransom Stephens
  8. The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
  9. The Difference Engine by William Gibson / Bruce Sterling
  10. The Planck Dive by Greg Egan
Ratings for Gödel Incomplete:
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:
2/5 (1 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreScience Fiction, Romance,
MotifReal Mathematicians, Time Travel, Romance, Gödel,
TopicMathematical Physics,
MediumFilms, Available Free Online,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)