MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Journey to the Center of Mathematics (2006)
Colin Adams
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A parody of the classic Jules Verne tale, which reads like what Woody Allen would have written if he had taken math instead of philosophy at NYU:

(quoted from Journey to the Center of Mathematics)

The next day, we booked travel on a steamer across the Analytic Ocean. All too soon, we found ourselves trudging through the desolate wasteland of Differential Topology following our newly hired guide, Hansel, a mathematician from Stockholm who spoke neither English nor Swedish. But he was quite good with hand signals.

Several weeks did it take us to cross the desert. Much did I learn on that journey. I learned that the tangent space at a point to an m-dimensional smooth manifold is a vector space. I learned that a nonsingular derivative at a point x of a smooth map f from Rn to Rn implies that f sends a neighborhood of x diffeomorphically onto a neighborhood of f(x). I learned not to share a pillow with Professor Lederhosen, as he drools in his sleep. Finally, after many tortuous days of slow progress, we found ourselves at the foot of Sard's Theorem.

The journey is long and entertaining...and anyone who has taken a course on the foundations of set theory knows what they find there.

Originally published in Mathematical Intelligencer Volume 28, Number 4 / December, 2006 and then reprinted in the collection Riot at the Calc Exam.....

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Works Similar to Journey to the Center of Mathematics
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. A Proof of God by Colin Adams
  2. Into Thin Air by Colin Adams
  3. Mangum, P.I. by Colin Adams
  4. Topsy-turvy (Sans Dessus Dessous) by Jules Verne
  5. Incomplete Proofs by John Chu
  6. Math Takes a Holiday by Paul Di Filippo
  7. Stranger than Fiction by Marc Forster (Director) / Zach Helm (Screenplay)
  8. The Better Mousetrap by Tom Holt
  9. Jack and the Aktuals, or, Physical Applications of Transfinite Set Theory by Rudy Rucker
  10. Mathenauts: Tales of Mathematical Wonder by Rudy Rucker (editor)
Ratings for Journey to the Center of Mathematics:
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:
5/5 (1 votes)
.
Literary Quality:
3/5 (1 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreHumorous, Fantasy,
Motif
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Real Mathematics, Logic/Set Theory,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)