MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Maxwell Equations (1969)
Anatoly Dnieprov
Highly Rated!

The math in this story seems very real, though the specifics of it are inconsequential to the plot. A mathematical physicist in an isolated city needs help finding a solution to a linearized version of Maxwell's equations, and he finds an offer for such help in a surprising ad in a newspaper. Going to the address listed in the paper, he finds that he is at the local insane asylum. Although this worries him, he is very pleased with the results: he shortly receives a package containing an absolutely brilliant, handwritten solution to the problem he posed. His theory that one of the residents at the asylum happens to be a great mathematician is shattered when he submits another question which is similarly answered, but in another person's handwriting. Eventually, he finds the truth, that a Nazi war criminal is working in the asylum on a method for taking ordinary people and making them into brilliant mathematicians (for the rest of their shortened lives) through electro-magnetic stimulation.
Originally published in Russian Science Fiction (edited by Robert Magidoff, 1969), this story was also reprinted in Mathenauts.

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(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 Maxwell Equations
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. What Dead Men Tell by Theodore Sturgeon
  2. The Pre-Persons by Philip K. Dick
  3. The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  4. The Year of the Jackpot by Robert A. Heinlein
  5. Singleton by Greg Egan
  6. Left or Right by Martin Gardner
  7. Ms Fnd in a Lbry by Hal Draper
  8. Brain Wave by Poul Anderson
  9. Habitus by James Flint
  10. The Non-Statistical Man by Raymond F. Jones
Ratings for The Maxwell Equations:
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:
3/5 (5 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4.6/5 (5 votes)
..

Categories:
GenreScience Fiction,
MotifGenius,
TopicAnalysis/Calculus/Differential,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)