MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Papos (2007)
Alex Rose
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

A short piece which mixes up historical facts/pseudo-facts from Greek history with rich imagination to discuss the discovery of irrational numbers (Pythagoras, Hippasus), the vanishing point in perspective geometry and the representation of 3-dimensional drawings on planar surface. This forms the spring-board for the mystical leap by one “architectural apprentice named Cretheus” who decides to invent the geometrical technique to avoid the “optical foreshortening” of perspective drawing, with startling effect. To quote, “he demonstrates that it is indeed possible to eradicate the heathen numbers embedded in our visual universe – so long as the mind is fit to create its own.”

This story appeared in Rose's anthology The Musical Illusionist and Other Tales.

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Works Similar to Papos
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Dead Ancients Trilogy by Peter Hobbs
  2. City of Infinite Bridges by Alex Rose
  3. Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann
  4. The Art Student's War by Brad Leithauser
  5. Turbulence by Giles Foden
  6. Maxwell's Equations by Alex Kasman
  7. The Ishango Bone by Paul Hastings Wilson
  8. The Measure of Eternity by Sean McMullen
  9. A Disappearing Number by Simon McBurney
  10. Pythagoras's Darkest Hour by Colin Adams
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Categories:
GenreHistorical Fiction,
Motif
TopicGeometry/Topology/Trigonometry, Algebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)