a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
It's a story about a physics professor who is investigating a device that creates planar force-fields. In its first run, an explosion destroys the device and the physicist is trying to obtain an answer to a seeming engineering problem using a second version. The story then goes on to describe how he gets trapped in the 2-D field and how a geometric property of the field, coupled with the fact that the planar field actually takes the form of a mobius surface, enables him to escape. There is a brief description of the way a stick figure on a paper mobius strip reverses orientation on completing a circuit.
Published in If, January 1955. Later republished in the anthology Ends in 1988.
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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books
let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.
(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)