MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Mathematically Bent (2000)
Colin Adams
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
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Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for math majors, math grad students (and maybe even math professors).

Geometer and knot-theorist Colin Adams (Williams College, MA) has been writing this short, mathematically-wise and bitingly funny column in the quarterly issues of The Mathematical Intelligencer since 2000. Following is a list of those stories published up to 2003 (provided to me by the author), but I am not writing a separate entry for each of these stories. Instead, I encourage you to browse through the Intelligencer in your local library (or even subscribe to it yourself), and also to check out the collection Riot at the Calc Exam and Other Mathematically Bent Stories which contains quite a few of the best ones from his columns (and a few more).

Contributed by Colin Adams

Mathematical Intelligencer Mathematically Bent Column by Colin Adams

1. Into Thin Air, Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol.22, No. 1, 2000, 21-22.
In many ways, doing research in mathematics resembles mountain climbing. This story just makes that explicit.

2. Research Announcement, Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol.22, No. 2, 2000, 26-27.
Mathematics is often a group effort. But how do you meet that perfect collaborator? Through the personals.

3. "The Pepsi Putnam Challenge", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol.22, No. 3, 2000, 37-38.
What if the Putnam exam were sponsored by advertisers?

4. "The S.S. Riemann", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol.22, No. 4, 2000, 41-42.
A theorem meets its iceberg.

5. "Overcoming Math Anxiety", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol.23, No. 1, 2001, 49-50.
Math anxiety as a disease.

6. "U-Substitution", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol.23, No. 2, 2001, 29.
A technique of integration on the basketball court.

7. "Hiring Season", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 23, No. 3, 2001, 21-22.
The difficulties in hiring in a math department.

8. "A Deprogrammer's Tale", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 23, No. 4, 2001, 13-14.
What to do when your child gets hooked on mathematics.

9. "Fields Medalist Stripped", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 24, No. 1, 2002, p.36.
What happens when a mathematician takes drugs to enhance his abilities?

10. "Homotopy on the Range", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 24, No. 2, 2002, p. 19.
Algebraic topology meets a cattle drive.

11. "Dr. Yeckel and Mr. Hide" , Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 24, No. 3, 2002, 15-16.
Being a tale of horror wherein a man is transformed into a beast, a beast of mathematics.

12. "The Red Badge of Courage" , Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 24, No. 4, 2002, 12-13.
War is hell, and to many students, so is math.

13. "A Difficult Delivery" , Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 25, No. 1, 2003, 8-9.
Proving a theorem can be like, well...

14. "Wiling Away the Hours", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 25, No. 2, 2003, 18-19.
A completely fictional account of how Andrew Wiles may have come to his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.

15. "The Three Little Pigs", Mathematically Bent Column, Mathematical Intelligencer ,Vol. 25, No. 3, 2003, 27-28.
An updated version of the classic tale, wherein the pigs get Ph.D.'s.

More information about this work can be found at another page on this Website.
(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 Mathematically Bent
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Riot at the Calc Exam and Other Mathematically Bent Stories by Colin Adams
  2. Pythagoras's Darkest Hour by Colin Adams
  3. The Strange Case of Mr. Jean D. by Joao Filipe Queiro
  4. Uncle Georg's Attic by Ben Schumacher
  5. Cardano and the Case of the Cubic by Jeff Adams
  6. Mangum, P.I. by Colin Adams
  7. A Proof of God by Colin Adams
  8. Rumpled Stiltskin by Colin Adams
  9. Into Thin Air by Colin Adams
  10. Unreasonable Effectiveness by Alex Kasman
Ratings for Mathematically Bent:
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:
5/5 (2 votes)
.
Literary Quality:
3.5/5 (2 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHumorous,
MotifAcademia,
Topic
MediumShort Stories, Collection,

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Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)