MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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What Are the Odds? (2006)
Justin Spitzer (writer) / Matthew Tritt (director)
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Two extremely nerdy strangers who keep running into each other in New York City are surprised to learn that they both "study applied mathematics" and are attending the same conference on "stochastic processes and their applications". As they consider the seemingly low probability of this (computed on the graphing calculators they each happen to be carrying while sightseeing), the sense that they are "fated" for each other helps to spark romance, even when a more mundane explanation manifests itself.

It's a cute idea. This short film also includes some nice animated sequences featuring balls bouncing "randomly" around a pinball machine and meaningless mathematical notation. But the gibberish of the mathematical dialogue and the unbelievable nerdiness of the characters make it difficult for me to really enjoy.

The writer was quoted on the production company's website as saying: "I wanted to write a short play about what it would take to get the most cynical of people to come to the most romantic of conclusions. A good way to dramatize this seemed to be following two statisticians as they encounter each other repeatedly over the course of one day; at what point would the sheer unlikelihood of such a series of events make them turn from math to kismet? "

At the moment, at least, the entire video is available for free through "blip.tv":

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(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 What Are the Odds?
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Do the Math: A Novel of the Inevitable by Philip Persinger
  2. Family Ties (Episode: My Tutor) by Jace Richdale (Screenplay) / Sam Weisman (Director)
  3. The Favor by Donald Petrie (Director) / Sara Parriott (Writer) / Josann McGibbon (Writer)
  4. Maths on a Plane by Phil Trinh
  5. Bread & Kisses by Katherine Fitzgerald (writer and director)
  6. The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster
  7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  8. Strange Attractors by Rebecca Goldstein
  9. The Capsule by Miceal Og O'Donnell (writer and director)
  10. Rites of Love and Math by Edward Frenkel / Reine Graves
Ratings for What Are the Odds?:
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:
4/5 (1 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHumorous,
MotifAnti-social Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians, Romance,
TopicProbability/Statistics,
MediumFilms, Available Free Online,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)