a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|A radio play about a philosophy graduate student who gets a job painting the Clufton Bay Bridge. It takes him and three other workers exactly two years to paint the entire bridge, at which time they must begin again immediately since the paint has a lifetime of two years.
Some mathematical jargon is used to explain the beauty that Albert sees in the bridge, but the primary mathematical content is Albert's claim that he can paint the bridge himself using paint with a lifetime of 8 years. The seemingly infallible logic of this argument, reminiscent of many elementary algebra problems, falls apart when it is tried. In particular, after two years in which he has painted only one quarter of the bridge with the new improved paint, the paint on the remainder of the bridge is in serious disrepair. Perhaps the joke suggests that many supposedly "applied" math problems encountered in school are similarly naive?
(Thanks to Steve Abbott for suggesting that I add this play and sending me his Math Horizons review from September 1999 which mentions it.)
|Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.com. |
|(Note: This is just one work of
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Great News for 1 April 2016: The long awaited cover of the comic book adaptation of The Adventures of Topology Man has been released. See here for details.
(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)