a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Hapgood (1988)
Tom Stoppard
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

A brief discussion of Euler's solution to the Königsburg Bridge Problem appears in Stoppard's play about espionage and quantum physics.

When a British physicist double-agent is accused of giving the Soviets secret information, he attempts to explain the situation to his superiors in an especially unhelpful way: through analogies to quantum physics (wave-particle duality, tunneling, double slit experiments, uncertainty, etc.)

In addition, one step towards a resolution of the problem involves analysis of a diagram drawn by another spy. The story of Euler and the bridges is related and used to explain that this particular diagram must show the positions of two people, and not just one.

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Works Similar to Hapgood
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Enigma by Robert Harris / Tom Stoppard
  2. Jumpers by Tom Stoppard
  3. Improbable by Adam Fawer
  4. The Blind Geometer by Kim Stanley Robinson
  5. The Eight by Katherine Neville
  6. 7 Steps to Midnight by Richard Matheson
  7. The Siege Of The "Lancashire Queen" by Jack London
  8. Sneakers by Phil Alden Robinson (director)
  9. Decoded by Mai Jia
  10. The Expert by Lee Gruenfeld
Ratings for Hapgood:
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:
1.5/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (2 votes)

MotifReal Mathematicians,

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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 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)