MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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La fiamma sul ghiaccio (The Flame on the Ice) (2006)
Umberto Marino (director)
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An Italian movie about a mathematician with Asperger's syndrome.

Contributed by Sandro Caparrini

The role of the protagonist is played by Raoul Bova. According to Bova, It's the story of a young mathematics professor afflicted with Asperger's syndrome, a disease that keeps him from feeling any sort of emotion. In some respects, it's a condition like autism. This professor finds himself falling in love with a vagrant woman, played by Donatella Finocchiaro. These two souls encounter one another and together embark on a journey, share certain experiences. Since I am now in the USA, I have not yet been able to see it. However, I have been told that the mathematical level is quite poor. It seems to me that, according to film makers, mathematicians are a bunch of crazy people. Just look at every recent movie on the subject! The good news is that mathematicians are usually played by very handsome actors (for example, Bova and Russell Crowe) or beautiful actresses (Gwyneth Paltrow).

The title translates as "The Flame on the Ice". Note that mathematicians with autism/Asperger's are very common in mathematical fiction. (Click here to see some other examples.) I have not heard any reliable statistics on this at all and so do not know whether there is any actual link between autism and mathematics. Of course, there are some examples of people who are autistic and have mathematical skills, and there are examples of mathematicians with Asperger's. This shows that it is possible for the two traits to coincide. However, the question of whether mathematicians are more likely to exhibit autistic tendencies than the general population (and similarly whether autistic people are more likely to have mathematical abilities than the general population) is a different question. If anyone knows of evidence of a link (outside of fiction), please let me know!

More information about this work can be found at www.imdb.com.
(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 La fiamma sul ghiaccio (The Flame on the Ice)
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Mozart and the Whale by Petter Næss (Director)
  2. The Almond Tree by Michelle Cohen Corasanti
  3. Morte di un matematico napoletano by Mario Martone (director)
  4. Proof by David Auburn (playwright)
  5. 36 Arguments for the Existence of God by Rebecca Goldstein
  6. Twenty-seven Uses for Imaginary Numbers by Buzz Mauro
  7. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin
  8. Kapitoil by Teddy Wayne
  9. The Solitude of Prime Numbers [La Solitudine dei Numeri Primi] by Paolo Giordano
  10. The 351 Books of Irma Arcuri by David Bajo
Ratings for La fiamma sul ghiaccio (The Flame on the Ice):
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Categories:
Genre
MotifAutism, Romance,
Topic
MediumFilms,

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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)