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.

Contributed by shankar prasad

an excellent theme well knitted with characters

More information about this work can be found at another page on this Website.
(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 Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges
  3. Gomez by Cyril M. Kornbluth
  4. The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  5. Ms Fnd in a Lbry by Hal Draper
  6. The Non-Statistical Man by Raymond F. Jones
  7. Brain Wave by Poul Anderson
  8. Quanto scommettiamo ("How much do you want to bet?") by Italo Calvino
  9. Habitus by James Flint
  10. The Book of Sand by Jorge Luis Borges
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:
3.17/5 (6 votes)
..
Literary Quality:
4.5/5 (6 votes)
..

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

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May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the Amazon.com page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)