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A Killer Theorem (2007)
Colin Adams
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Mangum, P.I. returns in this mystery in which the unproven Gauss' Last Lemma is wielded as a murder weapon. Apparently, a certain approach to proving it is so enticing that merely showing it to mathematicians results in their eventual death as they forego eating in order to work on it. (This is vaguely reminiscent of Ian Frazier's killion, a number so big that anyone who thinks about it dies, and Monty Python's joke so funny that people die laughing.)

Note that Gauss' Last Lemma is not a real mathematical conjecture, though its similarity to ``Fermat's Last Theorem'' makes it sound vaguely familiar.

Originally published as Mathematical Intelligencer Volume 29, Number 3 / September, 2007, it also appears in the 2009 collection Riot at the Calc Exam.....

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Works Similar to A Killer Theorem
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Mangum, P.I. by Colin Adams
  2. The Killion by Ian Frazier
  3. A Proof of God by Colin Adams
  4. Rumpled Stiltskin by Colin Adams
  5. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua
  6. The Jester and the Mathematician by Alan R. Gordon
  7. Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
  8. The Murdered Mathematician by Harry Stephen Keeler
  9. Naked Came the Post-modernist by Sarah Lawrence College Writing Class WRIT-3303-R / Melvin Jules Bukiet
  10. Without a Trace (Episode: Claus and Effect) by David Amann (writer) / Alicia Kirk (writer) / Bobby Roth (Director)
Ratings for A Killer Theorem:
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:
4.5/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.5/5 (2 votes)

GenreMystery, Humorous,
MotifAcademia, Proving Theorems,
TopicFictional Mathematics,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)