MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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MathNet (1987)
Childrens~Television~Workshop
Highly Rated!
Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for children.

A children's TV show in which mysteries are solved using mathematics. The suspects and victims always ask the investigators "Are you the police?" To which they reply "No, we're mathematicians!" In my favorite episode, they use number theory to deduce that the money stolen from the bank is being stolen by the person who loads the ATM machine with bills. He puts hundred dollar bills in the ten dollar slot and then withdraws money from his account leaving the bank always short by multiples of 90!

Contributed by Joel Schneider, Children's Television Workshop.

"We produced 30 five-part serials [of Mathnet] and cut ten of them into one-hour specials. The whole idea was to have some engaging characters using mathematics and, moreover, have a woman take the lead in it. Everyone who worked on the production had a good time with it. I was especially appreciative that they all took the math seriously and worked hard to do well by it."

Somehow, a horde of MathNet fans have found this Website and bombarded me with e-mail (Feb 2001). They all want me to fix an error in the date (the show was made between 1987 and 1992, not 1977 as I had accidentally written) and say how great it was. I agree with them that the show was sometimes very educational and a lot of fun. I am grateful to these fans for pointing me to the Website at http://www.jillthepill.net/mathnet/wo04000.htm which summarizes each episode of the show.

Contributed by Holly Hardin.

"I remember enjoying this as a young child and learning more from it than my math class at school. Topics such as the Fibonacci Sequence taught to second graders- who would have imagined that they would love it?"

Contributed by Dot

My oldest two (of five) children watched this as youngsters. They loved it and learned LOTS of math. My second child is now a math major at University of Washington. I wish my younger children, as well as my second grade students every year, could have the chance to watch it. Why can't Children's Television Network bring it back? I'm sure it would be just as popular today.

More information about this work can be found at www.jillthepill.net.
(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 MathNet
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Math Patrol by TV Ontario
  2. Sir Cumference and the... by Cindy Neuschwander
  3. Math Curse by Jon Scieszka / Lane Smith (illustrator)
  4. Recess (Episode: A Genius Among Us) by Brian Hamill
  5. The Simpsons: Girls Just Want to Have Sums by Matt Selman
  6. Cardano and the Case of the Cubic by Jeff Adams
  7. Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
  8. Monster's Proof by Richard Lewis
  9. PopCo by Scarlett Thomas
  10. Train Brains / The Runaway Train (Donald Duck) by Carl Barks
Ratings for MathNet:
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:
4.49/5 (8 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4.28/5 (7 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHumorous, Children's Literature,
MotifCool/Heroic Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians,
Topic
MediumTelevision Series or Episode,

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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)