MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Galileo (1938)
Bertolt Brecht
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Of course, Brecht's biographical play takes more of a political than a mathematical view of the life of the famous astronomer/mathematician. Note that Joseph Losey, who directed the first American production ot this play in 1947, also made a film version which you can read about here.

Contributed by mary

I read this work in the orginal german and found that math was not the center point of the work, but rather a main theme. Brecht uses the idea of math and science to define his view of humanity. Remember the ending was changed after the use of the atom bomb. The orginal ending was one that displayed Galileo as a hero of sorts. He goes against the Pope, and continues to do his studies. But the ending was changed to show him as a coward, and partially to blame for the fall of humanity. Also keep in mind that Brecht was known to have communist ties. But this work of lit. is a masterpiece, even though it doesn't have math as its central point, but rather as the underlying theme.

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(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 Galileo
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. El matemático del Rey by Juan Carlos Arce
  2. Kepler: A Novel by John Banville
  3. Calculus (Newton's Whores) by Carl Djerassi
  4. The French Mathematician by Tom Petsinis
  5. The Death of Archimedes by Karel Čapek
  6. Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley
  7. Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann
  8. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
  9. Conceiving Ada by Lynn Hershman-Leeson
  10. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Ratings for Galileo:
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:
2.4/5 (5 votes)
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Literary Quality:
3.8/5 (5 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifReal Mathematicians,
Topic
MediumPlays, Films,

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May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the Amazon.com 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)