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 electromagnetic stimulation.
Originally published in Russian Science Fiction (edited by Robert Magidoff, 1969), this story was also reprinted in Mathenauts.
