a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Partition (2003)
Ira Hauptman

According to >Ken Ribet's review of the San Francisco production in the Notices of the AMS, this play about the interaction between the mathematicians Hardy and Ramanujan explores the "partitions" that differentiate the men from each other (Hardy's mathematical rigor versus Ramanujan's intuitive sense, the differences between British and Indian culture, etc.) as well as "partitions" in the mathematical sense. Included in the story as characters are Fermat and the goddess Namagiri (who literally writes mathematics on the tongue of the young Indian genius). The suggestion in the play that prior to his death, Ramanujan was close to discovering a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem based on modular forms (like the 1995 proof by Wiles and Taylor) has no historical basis and is therefore somewhat disturbing, but otherwise mathematicians and non-mathematicians alike seem to like the script.

In an interview (published in the Contra Costa Times), playwright Hauptman is quoted as saying "I think writing about people in science and math is a way we can pay homage to genius and people we admire. And it's a way of saying, 'You may be smarter, but I have the last word, I control you.' And, beyond that, I think there is a connection between science and math and playwrights; we're all creating imaginary universes."

(Many thanks to Apostolos Doxiadis for pointing out this play to me.)

Contributed by Carter Donaghy

Powerful play. Unfortunate that it came in the wake of several other math plays. If there is a god in heaven, there will be a NY production.

Contributed by Angelica Adams

I saw Parition in Cambridge and was struck by its inspriation and imagination. I am a mystic and a poet. [This] play brings to life and light the delicate balance between the intutive mind and the rational.

More information about this work can be found at
(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 Partition
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Fermat's Last Tango by Joanne Sydney Lessner / Joshua Rosenblum
  2. Ramanujan’s Miracles – A Drama To Demystify Mathematics by R.N. Kapur
  3. The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt
  4. The Fairytale of the Completely Symmetrical Butterfly by Dietmar Dath
  5. Lovesong of the Electric Bear by Snoo Wilson (playwright)
  6. A Disappearing Number by Simon McBurney
  7. The Parrot's Theorem by Denis Guedj
  8. Continuums by Robert Carr
  9. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
  10. Shakespeare Predicted it All by Dietmar Dath
Ratings for Partition:
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 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
5/5 (2 votes)

GenreHistorical Fiction, Fantasy,
MotifGenius, Academia, Proving Theorems, Real Mathematicians, Religion,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Real Mathematics,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)