
Abendland (Occident) (2007) 
 Michael Köhlmeier 

The protagonist is an Austrian
mathematician who, according to the fictional invention of the author,
worked with Emmy Noether in Göttingen during the 'Golden Age' of
German Mathematics, i.e. before Hitler came to power. In chapter 6 we
learn a lot about Noether's life in Göttingen, Moscow, and the US.
(more) 


Against the Day (2006) 
 Thomas Pynchon 

This novel, set in the time frame 1890s to 1920s interleaves several
plots and styles, from boys' adventures to peacetime spies to gunslingers'
revenges. The forces of progress stomp over all the... (more) 


Agora (2009) 
 Alejandro Amenábar (writer and director) / Mateo Gil (writer) 

A film based on the life of Hypatia of Alexandria. What little we know of the real Hypatia suggests that she was a talented mathematician and teacher (neither of them easy professions for a woman to enter... (more) 


All the Light We Cannot See (2014) 
 Anthony Doerr 

Doerr's Pulitzer Prize winning novel follows two children in World War II, a blind French girl hiding with her father and a valuable jewel from the museum where he works and an orphaned German boy. When... (more) 


The Almond Tree (2012) 
 Michelle Cohen Corasanti 

A poor Palestinian boy growing up in Israel during the 1950s and 1960s endures persecution but eventually becomes a successful scientific researcher because of his mathematical skills.
The author, who... (more) 


Arcadia (1993) 
 Tom Stoppard 

Stoppard's critically successful play includes long discussions of topics of
mathematical interest including: Fermat's Last Theorem and Newtonian
determinism, iterated algorithms, the second law of thermodynamics,
Fourier's... (more) 


Archimedes, a planetarium opera (2007) 
 James Dashow 

Opera, as in people singing and music playing, and not the
usual Latin for "works".
James Dashow has been scripting, composing, and recording
Archimedes, a "planetarium opera" for the past ten years.
It's... (more) 


The Art Student's War (2009) 
 Brad Leithauser 

In this novel, Bea Paradiso is an art student during World War II who makes portraits of wounded soldiers. (Not coincidentally, the author's motherinlaw did the same, and the book is enhanced by the... (more) 


A Beautiful Mind (2001) 
 Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman 

Although the book A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. is not fictional, Ron Howard's film (released December 2001) most certainly is. (I say this not as a complaint, but just to justify... (more) 


The Bed and the Bachelor (2011) 
 Tracy Anne Warren 

Although it involves cryptography and the Napoleonic wars, this novel is really more of a romance than it is historical fiction or espionage.
Sebastianne Dumont is the daughter of a French mathematician... (more) 



Beyond the Limit: The Dream of Sofya Kovalevskaya (2002) 
 Joan Spicci 

This book is a novelized account of the life of
Sofia Kovalevskaya (aka Sonia Kovalevskey and infinitely1 many alternative
spellings), famous today as the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in
mathematics.... (more) 


The Blue Door (2006) 
 Tanya Barfield 

A successful AfricanAmerican mathematics professor who has tried to ignore racism and its implications for his life is visited by the memories of three dead relatives during a sleepless night in this... (more) 


The Bones of Time (1996) 
 Kathleen Ann Goonan 

A young 21st century mathematician named Cen (short for Century) Kalakaua falls in love with a 19th century Hawaiian princess when they meet through an unusual temporal phenomenon. He becomes obsessed... (more) 


Breaking the Code (1986) 
 Hugh Whitemore (playwright) 

This biography of Alan Turing is a "character study" of this
fascinating mathematician. Although we do see some mathematics (including
an especially nice description of Gödel's Theorem and its mathematical
significance)... (more) 


Calculus (Newton's Whores) (2004) 
 Carl Djerassi 

The credit for the invention of calculus has long been contested, being claimed by both Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. A committee established by the Royal Society in 1712 concluded that Newton was... (more) 


The Cambridge Quintet (1999) 
 John L. Casti 

A group of famous historical figures, including Wittegenstein,
Schrödinger, J.B.S. Haldane, and Alan Turing meet at the home of
C.P. Snow to discuss the question of whether machines can think.
John... (more) 


The Capacity for Infinite Happiness (2015) 
 Alexis von Konigslow 

A math grad student trying to start her thesis on graph theory discovers some of her family's secrets when visiting their Jewish resort in Canada.
Graph theory involves the study of vertices (points... (more) 


Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (1955) 
 Jean Lee Latham 

The life of early American mathematician Nathaniel Bowditch, famous for his work on techniques of navigation, is fictionalized in this novel for young adults. Although the mathematical details are not... (more) 


A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel (2007) 
 Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal 

The intertwined stories of Ravi, a Stanford student taking a course on "Infinity" in the 1980's, and his grandfather who was jailed for blasphemy in New Jersey in 1919 constitute a philosophical investigation... (more) 


The Chosen (1967) 
 Chaim Potok 

In Chaim Potok's classic novel about two Jewish teenagers growing up in New York City at the end of World War II, one of the two boys expresses an interest in symbolic logic:
'What kind of mathematics... (more) 


City of Infinite Bridges (2007) 
 Alex Rose 

A very short, definitely fictional but delightful little tale about Katharina Gsell, Euler’s wife. In this fictional account, Katharina is supposed to have displayed a graph of the 7 Konigsberg bridges... (more) 


The Company of Strangers (2001) 
 Robert Wilson 

A bittersweet romance/thriller about a young woman mathematician in
Portugal spying for the British during World War II. There is a lot of
interesting stuff in this novel if you're looking at the romance... (more) 


Conceiving Ada (1997) 
 Lynn HershmanLeeson


Bizarre, lowbudget film in which a female computer programmer from the 20th century accesses the memories of Ada Lovelace, the 19th century mathematician and daughter of the poet Lord Byron. The film... (more) 


Confusions of Young Torless (1906) 
 Robert Musil 

A semiautobiographical novel set in a military
academy in a desolate corner of the AustroHungarian empire, is the
story of the intellectual awakening of an intelligent adolescent, and
contains several... (more) 



Continuums (2008) 
 Robert Carr 

The decisions we make and the difficulty in accepting the consequences is the main focus of this book about a Romanian mathematician who leaves her country and her daughter to be in a place that she could... (more) 


Cryptonomicon (1998) 
 Neal Stephenson 

This "cult" novel of mathematics, computer science, espionage and
warfare follows a mathematician through World War II and his grandson
through the creation of a (less than ordinary) silicon valley startup
company.... (more) 


Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton (2002) 
 Philip Kerr 

A multiplemurder mystery which outlandishly casts Newton in the role of Sherlock Holmes during his tenure as Warden at the British Royal Mint (Watson is played Christopher Ellis, nephew of mathematician... (more) 


Dead Ancients Trilogy (2008) 
 Peter Hobbs 

Pythagoras explains in first person his celebrated theorem, complete with diagrams and shaded triangles. It is a source of substantial chagrin to him because it naturally leads to the irrational numbers.... (more) 


The Death of Archimedes (1923) 
 Karel Čapek 

As history usually tells the story, Archimedes is killed by a Roman
soldier who did not realize who he was. In this version, however, the
centurion is well aware of who he is speaking with. While he... (more) 


Decoded (2002) 
 Mai Jia 

This novel tells the story of Rong Jinzhen, a mathematical genius who becomes a cryptographer in Mao's secret intelligence agency.
The author, who is a wellknown awardwinning author in China, supposedly... (more) 


Der Tag ohne Abend (The Day without Evening) (1925) 
 Leo Perutz 

Der Tag ohne Abend/The Day without Evening is a short story which
alludes to the life of Evariste Galois and to Augustine's theology.
Perutz' protagonist is called Georges Durval, he lives at the
beginning... (more) 


The Difference Engine (1991) 
 William Gibson / Bruce Sterling 

Two of the innovators of the cyberpunk novel  famous for showing how messed up the future will be because of technology  turn everything around and show us instead how great the past would have been... (more) 


A Disappearing Number (2007) 
 Simon McBurney 

Scenes of Srinivasa Ramanujan's collaboration with G.H. Hardy around the time of World War I are mixed in with modern storylines including an Indian physicist who has applied Ramanujan's work to String... (more) 


Disciple of the Masses (2008) 
 Xujun Eberlein 

A pathosfilled short story set in rural China toward the end of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. It captures beautifully the sense of loss inherent in a centrallydirected and enforced revolution, with... (more) 


Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959) 
 Hamilton Luske (director) 

Disney's Donald Duck takes an adventure to a land where mathematics
"comes alive". (Animated short.)
I used this video in my 6th grade
classroom. The kids enjoyed watching
... (more) 


D'Alembert's Principle: A Novel in Three Panels (2000) 
 Andrew Crumey 

A fictionalized presentation of the life (and love) of Jean le Rond
D'Alembert (17171783), best known  to me at least  as the first
to study and solve the famous linear wave equation u_xx + c u_tt = 0.
See the online
bookreview at at MAA Online. (more) 


Eifelheim (2006) 
 Michael Flynn 

In this award winning science fiction novel, Tom and Sharon have a lot in common. They share an apartment, both use sophisticated mathematics in their research, and both become completely obsessed with... (more) 


The Eight (1989) 
 Katherine Neville 

This book really is AMAZING. I have read it numerous times and it always gets better. Math plays an important part in this story and the connections made in the plot are fascinating. This book is an... (more) 


An Elegant Solution (2013) 
 Paul Robertson 

A fictionalized account of the life of Leonhard Euler, focusing on his relationship with the Bernoullis and told from the perspective of Christian theology. The novel also takes on aspects of a murder... (more) 


Emilie (2010) 
 Kaija Saariaho (composer)/Amin Maalouf (libretto) 

In this opera, a single performer portrays the final days in the life of Émilie du Châtelet, whose promising career as a mathematical physicist in the 18th century was tragically cut short at the age of 42. Émilie du Châtelet's story is also told in two recent plays: see Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight and Legacy of Light . (more) 



Emmy Noether: The Mother of Modern Algebra (2008) 
 Margaret B.W. Tent 

A semifictional biography of Emmy Noether written for young adults.
The book has received positive reviews from many mathematicians who hope (as, one supposes, does the author) that young readers will... (more) 


En busca de Klingsor (In Search of Klingsor) (1999) 
 Jorge Volpi 

The story is highly mathematical, involving a German Character called Gustav
Links, though the main character is a young American physicist called Francis
Bacon (sounds good). The idea is that this... (more) 


Enigma (1995) 
 Robert Harris / Tom Stoppard 

In this this espionage story set in England's Bletchley Park at the height of the Second World War, Tom Jericho is a clever mathematician at the famous code breaking facility who  either despite or because... (more) 



Evariste and Heloise (2008) 
 Marco Abate 

This contribution to the collection The Shape of Content is difficult to classify. Combining fiction and fact, essay and comic book, fantasy and philosophy, it essentially takes the form of a proposal... (more) 


Evariste Galois (1965) 
 Alexadre Astruc (writer and director) 

Short film about the romantic and tragic death of Galois, the young mathematician whose research laid the foundation for Group Theory. I haven't actually seen the film, but the following quote (stolen... (more) 



Fermat's Last Tango (2000) 
 Joanne Sydney Lessner / Joshua Rosenblum 

Fermat's Last Tango is an intelligently written, hilarious fantasia
based on Andrew Wiles' 1993 proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. The main plot consists of a love triangle between Daniel
Keane... (more) 


The Fibonacci Confessions (2010) 
 Graham Wade 

A historical novel telling the life story of Leonardo Pisano, perhaps the most famous European mathematician of the Middle Ages, better known today as Fibonacci.
We know very little of the historical... (more) 


The First Circle (1968) 
 Alexandr Solzhenitsyn 

Solzhenitsyn had been a math major until Hitler and Stalin came up
with a different career path for him, and TFC is based on his own
brief stay in the luxury side of the Gulag, which he claims saved
his... (more) 


The Five Hysterical Girls Theorem (2000) 
 Rinne Groff 

I think this play about a number theory conference at the British seaside at the turn of the 20th century may be misunderstood. The plot revolves around the neuroses of the senior researcher, Moses Vazsonyi,... (more) 


Flow Down Like Silver: Hypatia of Alexandria (2009) 
 Ki Longfellow 

Another novel about the historical figure Hypatia of Alexandria whose murder by Christian zealots as the Ancient Greek culture faded away makes her a good subject for authors with certain political and... (more) 


Flowers Stained with Moonlight (2005) 
 Catherine Shaw 

In this sequel to The ThreeBody Problem, Vanessa Duncan is called upon to save an innocent young woman, falsely suspected of murdering her older and unlikable husband. Although there is no mathematics... (more) 



The French Mathematician (1998) 
 Tom Petsinis 

A fictionalized account (in first person) of the life and untimely
death of Evariste Galois, originator of the mathematical subject now
known as group theory.
This is a story about a mathematician,... (more) 


Freud's Megalomania: A Novel (2001) 
 Israel Rosenfield 

This is an intriguing piece of work, mixing fact
with fiction and different styles (from the scientific essay to
the diary), probably best understood as an ironic look upon the
"Freud wars".... (more) 


Frobenius: A Sesquilogue (1996) 
 Lee Rudolph 

A fictionalized account of the life of Hamilton as remembered by
Frobenius (in verse). (A slightly different version was published in
the Mathematical Intelligencer.)
(more) 


The Future Engine (1995) 
 Byron Tetrick 

Charles Babbage's son calls on Sherlock Holmes to investigate the
theft of the Analytic Engine from its warehouse. The son gives a
description of its importance to mathematical calculations. But
it's his mention of the role of the binomial theorem in its working
that arouses Holmes's interest.
Published in Mike Resnick and M H Greenberg (eds) SHERLOCK HOLMES IN ORBIT.
(more) 


Galileo (1938) 
 Bertolt Brecht 

Of course, Brecht's biographical play takes more of a political than a mathematical view of the life of the famous astronomer/mathematician. Note that Joseph Losey, who directed the first American production... (more) 



A Higher Geometry (2006) 
 Sharelle Byars Moranville 

A teenage girl in the 1950's pursues her dream of becoming a mathematician in the American midwest over a background of sexism, romance and Cold War politics. This fictional account mirrors some of the... (more) 


A Hill on the Dark Side of the Moon (1983) 
 Lennart Hjulström 

A Swedish film about the life of Sonia Kovalevsky. The title refers,
apparently, to a site on the moon which was actually named in her
honor. The film tends to avoid the mathematics (for example, melodramatic... (more) 


Hypatia (2000) 
 Mac Wellman 

Artistically produced offBroadway play about the famous female
mathematician who was tortured to death by Christian monks in the 5th
Century. (more) 


Hypatia: New Foes with an Old Face (1852) 
 Charles Kingsley 

A fictionalized account of the life and murder of Hypatia, once
recognized as the greatest living mathematician in the GrecoRoman world. This
book, written in 1852 by Reverend Kingsley, focuses more... (more) 


The Imitation Game (2014) 
 Morten Tyldum (director) / Graham Moore (screenplay) 

This film about Alan Turing and his role in breaking the Nazi enigma code has been a critical and financial success. It has won numerous awards and brought huge crowds of people to see a movie about a... (more) 


In Good King Charles's Golden Days (1939) 
 George Bernard Shaw 

Considered by many to be Shaw's worst play, this late example of his
witty writing may be of special interest to visitors to this site. It
takes place at the home of Sir Isaac Newton where he is joined... (more) 


In The Country of the Blind (1990) 
 Michael Flynn 

Sarah Beaumont escaped from the modern American ghetto to become a successful journalist, programmer and real estate investor. However, while investigating an idea for developing her latest real estate... (more) 


The Indian Clerk (2007) 
 David Leavitt 

Acclaimed author, Leavitt, presents a fictionalized version of one of the most famous "human interest stories" in mathematical history: the short life and career of Srinivasa Ramanujan. Focusing largely... (more) 


Infinities (2002) 
 John Barrow 

This play, written by Cambridge cosmologist John Barrow, has been produced and performed in Italy (Milan and Valencia). It is made up of five separate vignettes several of which touch on the deep mathematics... (more) 


Infinity (1996) 
 Patricia Broderick 

It's about the early years of Richard Feynman, up to the completion
of the Manhattan Project, and the death of his wife.
What I like particularily is a scene in NY's Chinatown where [Feynman]
races... (more) 


The Ingenious Mr. Spinola (1924) 
 Ernest Bramah 

Max Carrados is a blind amateur detective genius, quite popular in the early 20th century, but mostly forgotten since then. (Such is also the fate of E.B.'s Kai Lung fantasy stories.)
... (more) 


An Instance of the Fingerpost (1999) 
 Iain Pears 

A murder mystery set in Oxford in the 1660's. Mathematician John
Wallis plays a major role as a character in the book (and Newton a
small role). See the review at MAA
online.
A very fine piece... (more) 


The Ishango Bone (2012) 
 Paul Hastings Wilson 

Amiele becomes the first female student at Trinity College and goes on to disprove the Riemann Hypothesis at the age of 26, but is denied the Fields Medal. Written as if it were her life story recorded... (more) 


The Jester and the Mathematician (2000) 
 Alan R. Gordon 

A short historical fiction piece involving Leonardo of Pisa ("Fibonacci"). Interesting story which features Fibonacci talking briefly about his rabbitseries/sequence, his abacusduel with Pisa's foremost... (more) 


Journey into a Dark Heart (1998) 
 Peter Hoeg 

This story appears in the collection Tales of the Night made up of stories by Hoeg that are all set on the evening of March 19, 1929. In this one, a depressed young Danish mathematician takes a train... (more) 


Kepler: A Novel (1981) 
 John Banville 

Johannes Kepler, the most famous Rennaissance court mathematician,
is remembered today for his successes, especially his explicit
description of planetary orbits. However, he also had some rather
strange... (more) 


The Kingdom of Ohio (2009) 
 Matthew Flaming 

CheriAnne Toledo, the daughter of the King of Ohio, uses her mathematical skills (and the assistance of Nikola Tesla) to build a device that is supposed to be able transport people instantaneously from... (more) 


The Lady's Code (2006) 
 Samantha Saxon 

The third in a series of romance novels about intelligent, confident women, The Lady's Code features Lady Juliet Pervell, who has ruined her reputation in social circles but earned an honorary degree in... (more) 


Le larmes de saint Laurent (Wonder) (2010) 
 Dominique Fortier 

The three separate stories that comprise this book are tied together by common themes of romance, death and volcanism. It is because of the second story, entitled "Harmony of the Spheres", that I am including... (more) 


Leap (2004) 
 Lauren Gunderson 

This play explores the inspiration for Isaac Newton's amazing discoveries in 1664, personifying it in the form of two young girls whose playful interaction leads to the results we remember Newton for today.... (more) 


Legacy of Light (2009) 
 Karen Zacarías 

Two tales of discovery and pregnancy are told in this play. An astrophysicist at the Newton Institute whose team has discovered evidence of a planet in formation feels that she is too old to be pregnant... (more) 


Let Newton Be! (2011) 
 Craig Baxter 

The three actors in this play portray Isaac Newton at three different stages of his life, as well as occasionally representing other people. Interestingly, the three Newton's interact with each other,... (more) 


The Library Paradox (2006) 
 Catherine Shaw 

Vanessa Duncan returns as the skilled amateur detective of Victorian England in this third mystery novel by "Catherine Shaw". (See The ThreeBody Problem and Flowers Stained with Moonlight for the earlier... (more) 


Life and Fate (1959) 
 Vasily Grossman 

A Russian nuclear physicist flirts with the wife of his mathematician colleague and makes an important mathematical discovery, all during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
I had not heard of this... (more) 


Life in a Mirror (2003) 
 Daniel Ryan 

This ebook not only contains many explicit references to mathematics, but it also claims to follow the outline of a mathematical text!
Set in 18th century Brittany, the story is ostensibly about royalty... (more) 


Logicomix (2008) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis / Christos Papadimitriou 

A graphic novel on the history of mathematical logic by the authors of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture and Turing. In an interview (available online here) Papadimitriou says:
It is really... (more) 


The Loom of God: Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time (1997) 
 Clifford Pickover 

A group of time travelers journey back to the time of Pythagoras in an effort to see the origins of mystical mathematics. The journey continues as they explore numerous links between mathematics, nature and mysticism. Concepts featured: pentagonal numbers, perfect numbers, oblong numbers, the golden ratio, and fractals. Religious implications are also discussed.
(more) 


Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land (2005) 
 John Crowley 

This book is made up of notes and email messages from a feminist historian interspersed with chapters from a previously unknown novel by Lord Byron which she has discovered while researching his daughter,... (more) 



The Lost Books of the Odyssey (2008) 
 Zachary Mason 

The introduction to this novel is a work of pseudoscholarship, explaining how the chapters to follow were decoded by an NSA cryptographer with the help of the author. The intro contains references to... (more) 


Lovesong of the Electric Bear (2005) 
 Snoo Wilson (playwright) 

This play about Alan Turing, told from the point of view of Porgy, his teddy bear, was produced as part of the Summer 2005 season at the Potomac Theater Project in Maryland. Turing certainly had both... (more) 


A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines (2006) 
 Janna Levin


This novel about Alan Turing and Kurt Gödel contains much that has already been said many times before, and occasionally "tries too hard" artistically. Still I very much enjoyed reading it, and even... (more) 


The Man Who Dammed the Yangtze: A Mathematical Novel (2011) 
 Alex Kuo 

A story of two number theorists at the opposite ends of the world having similar experiences of strife and disillusionment at times of great turmoil. Ge is a female mathematician teaching in schools in... (more) 


El matemático del Rey (2002) 
 Juan Carlos Arce 

It is a novel about a period in the lives of Juan Lezuza and his friend Luis Obelar during the first years of the rule of Phillip IV of Spain. Juan Lezuza is appointed teacher of the King, but it is... (more) 



The Mathematician's Shiva (2014) 
 Stuart Rojstaczer 

When Rachela Karnokovich dies, her family's attempt to conduct the Jewish mourning ritual of sitting shiva is disturbed by the many strangers who descend on her Madison, WI home. Although she never won... (more) 


The Mathematics of Magic Carpets (2013) 
 Sara Maitland 

A story that brings the mathematician Muḥammad ibn Mūsā alKhwārizmī, inventor of what we call "algebra", to life. He talks to his daughter about his goals of adding something new to mathematics... (more) 


Maxwell's Equations (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

James Clerk Maxwell was the 19th century theoretician who discovered electromagnetic waves. He is often described as a "physicist", but I would argue that he was a mathematician. Certainly some of his... (more) 


The Measure of Eternity (2006) 
 Sean McMullen 

The beautiful servant of an even more beautiful courtesan leaves the palace in an ancient city and finds a beggar proudly shouting "I have nothing" in many different languages. Yet, this beggar seems... (more) 


Measuring the World (2006) 
 Daniel Kehlmann 

Two famous Germans of the 19th Century, mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss and explorer/geologist Alexander von Humboldt, are irreverently presented in this novel which topped the sales charts in Germany... (more) 


Mersenne's Mistake (2008) 
 Jason Earls 

This is a nice piece of mathematical fiction in which the mathematician/monk Marin Mersenne encounters a demon with amazing mathematical skills. Like the other stories by Earls, this seems to be designed to showcase the interesting numbers which he has found using computer algebra tools.
(more) 


Miscalculations (2000) 
 Elizabeth Mansfield 

This romance novel features female "math whiz",
hired to help an attractive millionaire handle his wealth. Of course, they fall in love.
If you have read this book and can correct/add to the description above,
please write to me at kasmana@cofc.edu.
(more) 


Mr. Churchill's Secretary (2012) 
 Susan Elia MacNeal 

After graduating with a degree in mathematics from Wellesley, Maggie Hope plans to go on to graduate studies at MIT, but her plans change unexpectedly when a letter from England gets her instead looking... (more) 


Mrs. Einstein (1998) 
 Anna McGrail 

It's a wonderful novel that invents a history for Einstein's illegitimate daughter, about whom little is known. In the novel, she's a mathematician who becomes obsessed with her father's refusal to acknowledge... (more) 


Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher Mystery) (2014) 
 Kerry Greenwood 

As a fan of the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries TV Series, I was pleased to see that the 20th novel in the series that inspired it features a mathematician, giving me an excuse to read it.
Phryne Fisher... (more) 


The Music of the Spheres (2001) 
 Elizabeth Redfern 

A highly praised (a la Caleb Carr) historical thriller set in Europe in
1795, involving lots of astronomy. This includes Laplace musing over his
theorem that gravitational perturbations are bounded, and his wondering
if a similar theorem applies to history.
(more) 


The Name of the Rose (1980) 
 Umberto Eco 

A mystery novel which takes place in a 14th Century monastery by the brilliant Italian author, Umberto Eco. This book only has a small amount of math in it, but I frequently receive recommendations to... (more) 


Newton's Gift (1979) 
 Paul J. Nahin 

Time traveller Wallace John Steinhope believes that he will be able to help
his hero, Isaac Newton, avoid the tedium of computation by bringing him an electronic
calculator that can do simple arithmetic.... (more) 


Newton's Hooke (2004) 
 David Pinner 

A play about Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke which presents "the dark side" of Newton. Emphasis is put on his egotism (not only does he think that he is incomparably brilliant, but he also seems to think... (more) 



Oracle (2000) 
 Greg Egan 

The protagonist, Robert Stoney is a british mathematician who worked on German codes during WW II, was greatly affected by the death of a close friend, and was later persecuted for his homosexuality. ... (more) 


The Ore Miner's Wife (2003) 
 Karl Iagnemma 

A miner who spends his spare time secretly working on geometry problems arouses the suspicions of his God fearing wife when she comes upon his cryptic writings and follows him to a meeting with a visiting... (more) 


The Pacific Mystery (2006) 
 Stephen Baxter 

This starts as an alternate history short story, in which Lord Halifax became Prime Minister of England in 1940 and reaches an accommodation with Germany; Germany holds sway over Europe and Russia, Japan... (more) 


Papos (2007) 
 Alex Rose 

A short piece which mixes up historical facts/pseudofacts from Greek history with rich imagination to discuss the discovery of irrational numbers (Pythagoras, Hippasus), the vanishing point in perspective... (more) 


The Parrot's Theorem (2000) 
 Denis Guedj 

This is an ambitious novel, a magical fantasy about a talking parrot bought at a flea market in France who, with the help of the personal library of a reclusive mathematical genius, teaches some children... (more) 


Partition (2003) 
 Ira Hauptman 

According to Ken Ribet's review of the San Francisco production in the Notices of the AMS, this play about the interaction between the mathematicians Hardy and Ramanujan explores the "partitions" that... (more) 


Prince of Mathematics: Carl Friedrich Gauss (2006) 
 Margaret B.W. Tent 

A fictionalized account of the life and achievements of one of history's greatest mathematicians, told in a style which is appropriate for children but also maintains the interest of adult readers.
(I'm... (more) 


Princess Elizabeth's Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery (2012) 
 Susan Elia MacNeal 

Maggie Hope is assigned to stay with the royal family. As we know from her first appearance in Mr. Churchill's Secretary, Maggie has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Wellesley and was about... (more) 


Professor and Colonel (1987) 
 Ruth Berman 

In this unusual story, we get to see another side to Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy, the brilliant but evil mathematician Professor Moriarty. Here, rather than perpetrating a crime, Moriarty is merely visiting with his brother, discussing the significance of his research into asteroid dynamics. (See also Asimov's take on this same subject.) (more) 


Professor Conundrum Mysteries! (2008) 
 Bill Streifer 

My book, Professor Conundrum Mysteries!...combines math education (nonfiction) and historical fiction.
The book consists of five stories that take place during important events in 20th century U.S.... (more) 


Progress (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

The mathematics of ancient Egypt can look very strange to us today. For example, although they did not have many fractions, they did know about the number 2/3. Strangely, however, it took a page of computation... (more) 


Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery (2009) 
 Arturo Sangalli 

Freelance science journalist Sangalli has written a book which presents some historical information about Pythagoras and his beliefs in the form of a novel of the detail driven conspiracy theory adventure... (more) 


Pythagoras's Darkest Hour (2007) 
 Colin Adams 

A humorous short story from the author of Mathematically Bent which tells the true story of the discovery of the Pythagorean Theorem. Well, actually, perhaps it isn't exactly true...but it is so good,... (more) 


Pythagorean Crimes (2006) 
 Tefcros Michaelides 

This murder mystery takes place amid the exciting developments occurring in the mathematical and artistic communities in Europe between 1900 and 1931. Much of what one will learn by reading this book... (more) 


Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle Volume 1 (2003) 
 Neal Stephenson 

This long novel from the author of Cryptonomicon does for 17th Century mathematics what that earlier novel did for the 20th century. Namely, it deifies some great historical mathematicians (this time... (more) 



Der Rechenmeister [aka The Mathematician] (1999) 
 Dieter Jörgensen 

When I browsed through your list I found one book missing that I have in my library: "Der Rechenmeister" by Dieter Jörgensen is a novel describing the life of Niccolo Tartaglia in Venice and his battle... (more) 


Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (1967) 
 Tom Stoppard 

This brilliant, weird play, retelling the story of Shakespeare's Hamlet
from the point of view of two "throw away" characters, unfortunately has
very little mathematics in it. However, every few days... (more) 


The SandReckoner (2000) 
 Gillian Bradshaw 

In this historical novel whose title is copied from one Archimedes' own works, the famous Greek mathematician is your typical math nerd, always
so wrapped up in his computations that he is barely aware... (more) 


Sebastian (1968) 
 David Greene (director) 

A film about a British mathematician trying to break the German codes during World War II. (So, add this to the growing list of works of mathematical fiction inspired by Alan Turing!) I must admit that I have not yet seen the film, but you've got to love its tagline:
We can't tell you what he does (it's an international secret) but he does it with 100 girls... and does it the best!
(more) 


Sekret Enigmy (1979) 
 Roman Wionczek


Although Alan Turing tends to get much of the credit for breaking the Nazi "Enigma" codes during World War II, three Polish mathematicians did preliminary work that was equally brilliant and equally important. This film tells their story, featuring some real acts of heroism.
(more) 


The SevenPerCent Solution (1974) 
 Nicholas Meyer 

Meyer presents an alternative view of Sherlock Holmes in this surprising novel: that of a deluded drug addict. In particular, and of interest to those who visit this Website, we learn that Professor Moriarty is only a kindly mathematician who once tutored Holmes in mathematics. The idea that he is a criminal mastermind (as we learn in Conan Doyle's stories) is just part of Holmes' paranoia.
(more) 


The Shackles of Conviction (2008) 
 James R. Meyer 

This novel intersperses a fictionalized account of the life of Kurt Gödel with the modern tale of an engineer who realizes (and eventually convinces the world) that Gödel's proof was flawed and that his (more) 


Shakespeare Predicted it All (2003) 
 Dietmar Dath 

An artistically composed piece about Georg Cantor, inventor of the theory of transfinite cardinals, in the form of a dialogue between the characters "1" and "2", both of whom are either Cantor or Hamlet.... (more) 


The Shiloh Project (1993) 
 David R. Beaucage 

This is a Christian science fiction novel with mathematical undertones written by an author with a doctorate in mathematics. In it, a Jewish math teacher falsely accused of sexually abusing a student... (more) 


Shooting the Sun (2004) 
 Max Byrd 

Historical mathematicians Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage play supporting roles in this novel about an expedition into uncharted Indian territory to capture the first photograph of a solar eclipse at... (more) 


Sophie's Diary (2004) 
 Dora Musielak 

Sophie Germain famously studied mathematics at night by candlelight despite her parents' insistence that she give up this unfeminine discipline. She then went on to become one of the great mathematician's... (more) 


The Square Root of Pythagoras (1999) 
 Paul Di Filippo/Rudy Rucker 

Pythagoras has been granted the magical power of five numbers.
Along the way he discusses his theorem, the five Platonic solids,
and his general philosophy about numbers and the universe. But
he... (more) 


The Stargazers (1986) 
 Barbara Susan Lefever 

An historical novel based on Mason and Dixon. (Includes references!) It was selfpublished in a first printing of 700, and a second printing of 200. The author is/was a member of the Pennsylvania Society... (more) 


Still She Haunts Me (2001) 
 Katie Roiphe 

A novel about the life of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll). I have not
read it, and it most certainly focuses more on his affections for Alice than on
his mathematics, but I suppose there must be... (more) 


The Story of Yung Chang (1900) 
 Ernest Bramah (Ernest Bramah Smith) 

Before the invention of multiplication tables, a Chinese idol merchant must
sell his wares individually, even if someone wishes to purchase a large
amount, since he has no way to determine how much money... (more) 


A Study in Seduction (2012) 
 Nina Rowan 

From the back cover: "A heart divided...a passion multiplied...a love unequalled."
Although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, I could guess from the image of a shirtless man with no chest hair... (more) 


A Suitable Boy (1993) 
 Vikram Seth 

Sometimes referred to as the longest published English novel, this book about a mother's search for a husband for her daughter in postcolonial India has enough pages to devote a few to mathematics. And,... (more) 


The Sum of All Kisses (2013) 
 Julia Quinn 

Lady Sarah Pleinsworth and a mathematician who was crippled in a duel are forced to spend time together. Since they despise each other at the outset, we know from the typical plot arc of the romance novel... (more) 


Summer Solstice (1985) 
 Charles Leonard Harness 

I did enjoy reading this short story (nominated for a Nebula award in 1985)
in which the famous Greek mathematician Eratosthenes determines the Earth's
circumference and meets a shipwrecked alien, but... (more) 


The Three Body Problem (2004) 
 Catherine Shaw 

A cleverly titled novel that uses a historical mathematical contest
and several characters based on real mathematicians as the basis for a
murder mystery. Of special interest is the novel's presentation... (more) 


To Say Nothing of the Dog (1998) 
 Connie Willis 

Travelling through time, as we all know, is a dangerous business. One small change in the past and you could mess up the future! In this science fiction novel, Willis proposes a (vaguely mathematical)... (more) 


Too Much Happiness (2009) 
 Alice Munro 

The penultimate collection of short stories from Nobel laureate Alice Munro features a title story about the final days of Sonia Kovalevskaya. The main source of tension in the story is her love affair... (more) 


Touch the Water, Touch the Wind (1972) 
 Amos Oz 

Amos Oz, the famous Israeli author and political activist, wrote this mathematical, musical and mystical novel about a Holocaust survivor who proves a terribly important theorem about "infinity" while... (more) 


The Trachtenberg Speed System (2014) 
 Buzz Mauro 

Realizing that he is likely to die there, Jakow Trachtenberg fantasizes that the method of mental computation that he has created while at a Nazi concentration camp will live on beyond him. A young guard... (more) 


Turbulence (2010) 
 Giles Foden 

A British meteorologist is stationed in Scotland during World War II not to simply run a weather station (which is his cover), but to get to know the brilliant Wallace Ryman and learn to use his mathematical... (more) 


Two Moons (2000) 
 Thomas Mallon 

A historical novel set in Washington DC of the late 19th century in which
astronomers and the Naval Observatory (aided by the "computer" Cynthia May)
deal with scientific and political matters of the... (more) 


Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] (2009) 
 Davide Osenda 

This beautifully illustrated comic book presents a professor's last lecture to a (nearly) empty auditorium as the Nazi's begin to gather the city's Jews outside. It is perhaps a stretch to call this "fiction";... (more) 


Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture (1992) 
 Apostolos Doxiadis 

This novel, recently (2000) translated from Greek, follows the attempts of
fictional mathematician Petros Papachristos to prove Goldbach's
Conjecture (that every even number greater than two is the sum... (more) 


Verrechnet (2009) 
 Carl Djerassi/Isabella Gregor 

With the help of playwright/director Isabella Gregor, Djerassi updated his play Calculus (Newton's Whores). The plot still revolves around the question of priority on the invention of calculus, and especially... (more) 


Waiting for Citizen Gödel (2005) 
 Howard V. Hendrix 

Short story revolving around Godel's application for US citizenship. There is a wellknown episode from Godel's life, where Einstein and Oscar Morgenstern took Godel for his citizenship oath. Godel,... (more) 


War and Peace (1869) 
 Lev Tolstoy 

Tolstoy's famous novel about...well, about war and peace (!) contains long passages explaining an analogy he makes between history and calculus. In particular, he argues that we should view history as... (more) 


The Weight of Numbers (2006) 
 Simon Ings 

This is an ambitious novel which attempts to be as overwhelming as Pynchon, to deconstruct what it means to be human like Vonnegut and to tie together bits of history like Forrest Gump. For a few readers,... (more) 


Whom the gods love: The story of Evariste Galois (1948) 
 Leopold Infeld 

A fictionalized biography of the illfated originator of group theory written by
a collaborator of Einstein (better known today for his joint work with Max Born on electrodynamics).
“No professor... (more) 


The World as I Found It (1987) 
 Bruce Duffy 

A fictionalized "biography" of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein
including a portrayal of Bertrand Russell.
"Very enjoyable, but barely scratches the surface of Wittgenstein's life,
work, and character... (more) 


The Years of Rice and Salt (2002) 
 Kim Stanley Robinson 

This alternative history is based on the assumption that the Great Plague
of the 1300s that decimated Europe's population was much worse, and that
it in fact led to the extinction of almost all of... (more) 


Zéro, ou les Cinq vies d'Aemer (2005) 
 Denis Guedj 

This novel traces the history of the number `zero' through the lives of five different women, living in five different eras, but all living in the same place: Mesopotamia/Iraq.
Guedj is already known... (more) 
