MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Einstein See-Saw (1932)
Miles J. Breuer
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

This is another of the hyperspace stories by Miles Breuer. This time, a mathematical physicist discovers that mattter can be tossed around in and out of space(-time) [see his papers, "A Preliminary Report of Experimental Work in the Physical Manipulation of Tensors" and "The Parallel Transformations of Equations for Matter, Energy, and Tensors"]; if done fast enough, this catapulting sets up a see-saw action, causing sections of 3-D space to swing "up and down" in the fourth dimension, in accordance with Einstein's GR equation. As the professor's lovely (obviously) daughter explains:

(quoted from The Einstein See-Saw)

"My father is Professor Bloomsbury at the University of Chicago. He has been experimenting in mathematical physics, and I have been assisting him. He has succeeded in proving experimentally the concept of tensors. A tensor is a mathematical expression for the fact that space is smooth and flat, in three dimensions, only at an infinite distance from matter; in the neighborhood of a particle of matter, there is a pucker or a wrinkle in space. My father has found that by suddenly removing a portion of matter from out of space, the pucker flattens out. If the matter is heavy enough and its removal sudden enough, there is a violent disturbance of space. By planning all the steps carefully my father has succeeded in swinging a section of space on a pivot through an angle of 180 degrees, and causing two portions of space to change places through hyperspace, or as you might express it popularly, through the fourth dimension."

By chance, an unscrupulous but brilliant engineer gets hold of the professor's work [the professor's table accidentally swings into his room, carrying with it many of the physicist's papers and books like "'Theory of Parallels,' Lobatchevsky; 'Transformation of Complex Functions,' Riemann; 'Tensors and Geodesics,' Gauss,'Tensors,' by Christoffel; 'Absolute Differential Calculus,' by Ricci and Levi Civita. And Schrödinger and Eddington and D'Abro."]. He builds a suitable catapult and uses his access to hyperspace to steal safe deposits across the city.

A reporter from "The Enquirer" and the daughter bump into the thief by chance, get marooned in hyperspace as a punishment and after a bit of misadventure, are able to return to our space-time, getting rid of the thief by accident as well. A pretty hokum story.

Originally published in Astounding Stories, April 1932 and now available for download at Gutenberg.org.

More information about this work can be found at www.gutenberg.org.
(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 The Einstein See-Saw
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Gostak and the Doshes by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  2. The Appendix and the Spectacles by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  3. The Captured Cross-Section by Miles J. Breuer (M.D.)
  4. The Book of Worlds by Miles J. Breuer
  5. Space Bender by Edward Rementer
  6. The Magic Staircase by Nelson Slade Bond
  7. Technical Error by Arthur C. Clarke
  8. Blinding Shadows by Donald Wandrei
  9. The Fourth-Dimensional Demonstrator by Murray Leinster
  10. Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
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Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifAcademia, Higher/Lower Dimensions,
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Mathematical Physics,
MediumShort Stories, Available Free Online,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)