a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|An administrator in the math department of a major research institute
has to decide how to handle a paper which proves the inconsistency of
Euclidean geometry. |
Math is definitely central to this story, but there is not much elaboration of the mathematical concepts (like the reported inconsistency of Euclidean geometry). The story concentrates more on how knowledge of this discovery will affect the mathematical and scientific communities and the world at large.
The protagonist of the story (Dr. Donald Lucus) is in a position to either support or block publication of the dangerous new proof by a young mathematician. In this way, he can be compared to Leopold Kronecker when he was in a position to block publication of Georg Cantor's theories on infinite sets and transfinite numbers. However, the portrayal of Lucus is very sympathetic since he is shown as being concerned with the effects on society of publication. Although history has proven Kronecker wrong, he was also convinced that he was doing the right thing, and probably for what he thought were adequate reasons.
This story can also be compared to the discovery and revelation of non-Euclidean geometry. In fact, a brief reference is made in the story to a Hungarian mathematician (of another name) which may be a nod to Janos Bolyai.
|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.)|
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)