MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Motif=Real Mathematicians

127 matches found out of 1153 entries

(Note: This page not the entire list of works of Mathematical Fiction. To see the whole list, click here.)

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)
Highly Rated!
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)
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 Atrocity Archives (2004)
Highly Rated!
Charles Stross
"The Laundry" is a British spy organization which is responsible for suppressing certain dangerous math research. The occult implications of mathematics became clear with Alan Turing's paper "Phase Conjugate... (more)
Émilie (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)
Battle of the Frog and the Mouse (1984)
John Barrow
This succinct, well-writtten fable captures the polemics between Hilbert and Brouwer related to Hilbert's Formalist position and Brouwer's Constructivist position vis a vis the foundations of mathematics... (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)
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)
Breaking the Code (1986)
Highly Rated!
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)
A Calculated Demise (2007)
Robert Spiller
A high school math teacher, Bonnie Pinkwater, solves the mystery surrounding the murder of a PE teacher, a student, and the family of the boy suspected in the killing. This sequel to The Witch of Agnesi... (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)
Cardano and the Case of the Cubic (2005)
Jeff Adams
This parody of early 20th century "Hard Boiled Private Detective" novels is instead a short story about 16th century mathematician Gerolamo Cardano. Its opening paragraphs clearly set the tone: It... (more)
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (1955)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
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)
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)
Conceiving Ada (1997)
Lynn Hershman-Leeson
Bizarre, low-budget 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)
Continuums (2008)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
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 start-up company.... (more)
Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton (2002)
Philip Kerr
A multiple-murder 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)
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)
Dirac (2006)
Dietmar Dath
The protagonist tries to write a novel about the mathematician and physicist Paul Dirac. Excerpts from Dirac's works and Geoffrey A. Landis' novel "Ripples in the Dirac Sea" are implemented in the plot, so you can learn a lot about mathematics and quantum physics. (As far as I know, this novel is currently only available in the original German. Please correct me if I'm wrong.) (more)
A Disappearing Number (2007)
Highly Rated!
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)
Doing our Babbage (1992)
Ira Slobodien
The mind of 19th century mathematician Charles Babbage is brought back to life in electronic/mechanical form, becomes involved in a kinky "love rectangle" with the three scientists responsible (two women... (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 (1717-1783), 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)
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)
Emmy Noether: The Mother of Modern Algebra (2008)
Margaret B.W. Tent
A semi-fictional 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)
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)
The Fairytale of the Completely Symmetrical Butterfly (2003)
Dietmar Dath
I have long thought that Emmy Noether deserved to be the heroine of a work of mathematical fiction. I had even begun writing a story of my own to fill this gap. But, have no fear, since Dietmar Dath... (more)
Fermat's Last Tango (2000)
Highly Rated!
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)
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 Three-Body 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)
Forgotten Milestones in Computing No. 7: The Quenderghast Bullian Algebraic Calculator (1990)
Alex Stewart
A very creative story about a mathematician which History has entirely forgotten - one "Thaddeus Q. Quenderghast III, of Nettlebend, Wyoming". Born around 1821, a contemporary of Charles Babbage and... (more)
The French Mathematician (1998)
Highly Rated!
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)
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)
Gauß, Eisenstein, and the ``third'' proof of the Quadratic Reciprocity Theorem: Ein kleines Schauspiel (1994)
Reinhard C. Laubenbacher / David J. Pengelley
It is presented as a dialogue/drama between Gauss and Eisenstein, talking about the third proof of Gauss's reciprocity theorem (perhaps the actors are supposed to draw symbols in the air to make the... (more)
Georgia on My Mind (1995)
Charles Sheffield
The story has to do with Babbage's Analytical Engine and a remote region of Antarctica (the "Georgia" of the title). The mathematics bit, aside from Babbage, consists of a nonlinear optimization... (more)
God and Stephen Hawking (2000)
Robin Hawdon
Although most people know him as a "scientist", Stephen Hawking is probably the best known living mathematician. (Technically, he is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.) This play examines his life and work. (more)
The Goddess of Small Victories [La déesse des petites victoire] (2012)
Yannick Grannec
A beautifully written novel about the life of Kurt Gödel as recalled by his wife Adele near the end of her own life. The set up of the story is that Adele has refused to give Gödel's written works,... (more)
Hapgood (1988)
Tom Stoppard
A brief discussion of Euler's solution to the Königsburg Bridge Problem appears in Stoppard's play about espionage and quantum physics. When a British physicist double-agent is accused of giving... (more)
Herbrand's Conjecture and the White Sox Scandal (1993)
Eliot Fintushel
Hi, I'm Eliot Fintushel, the author of HERBRAND'S CONJECTURE AND THE WHITE SOX SCANDAL. The idea is that the mathematical logician Jacques Herbrand who actually did die in a mountaineering accident... (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 off-Broadway 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 Greco-Roman world. This book, written in 1852 by Reverend Kingsley, focuses more... (more)
The Imitation Game (2014)
Morten Tyldum (director) / Graham Moore (screenplay)
I do not yet know much about this film other than that Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, Keira Knightley is Joan Clark and Allen Leech (Downton Abbey) is a spy. The title, presumably, is a reference to the Turing Test. (more)
Improbable (2005)
Highly Rated!
Adam Fawer
A probability expert suffering from epilepsy (with hints of schizophrenia) is in over his head with gambling debts to the Russian mob and a beautiful, renegade CIA agent before discovering that he has the ability to predict the future. A running subplot is the mathematical aspects of determinism (i.e. (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)
Incompleteness (2004)
Apostolos Doxiadis
A play by the author of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture on the last, sad days in the life of Kurt Gödel. After a "workshop production" in Athens, Greece (June 24-28, 2003) the show's official... (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)
Intoxicating Heights (Höhenrausch. Die Mathematik des XX. Jahrhunderts in zwanzig Gehirnen) (2003)
Dietmar Dath
Word by word I would translate Dath's "Höhenrausch" as "High-altitude Euphoria. Mathematics of the 20th century in 20 brains". It is a collection of short stories and fictional portraits of (I copy... (more)
Irrational Numbers (2008)
Robert Spiller
Another mystery about high school math teacher Bonnie Pinkwater by the author of Witch of Agnesi. Like the others in this series, this is a murder mystery with adult themes (violence, homosexuality, etc.)... (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 rabbit-series/sequence, his abacus-duel with Pisa's foremost... (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)
La formula di Ramanujan (2001)
Marco Abate (writer) / P. Ongaro (artist)
A trip from Berkeley to India via Oxford to recover the lost Ramanujan's notebooks, pursued independently by two (again, realistic) mathematicians, both driven by revenge, though of different kind. Along... (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)
Letters to a Young Mathematician (2006)
Highly Rated!
Ian Stewart
I listed this one here before I had a chance to read it and am now wondering whether it should be counted as fiction at all. This is an excellent book which provides a lot of useful information about... (more)
Life After Genius (2008)
M. Ann Jacoby
Although his family would normally expect him to stay in their small town and take over the family business (a combination of a furniture store and funeral home), Mead Fegley's "genius" gives him the unprecedented... (more)
A Little Mathematician - Katie (2002)
Tadashi Miura
A sweet little book by an author who wanted to be a math teacher and hopes he can "introduce the joy of learning mathematics to every student in this world through this story". A little girl named Katie... (more)
Logicomix (2008)
Highly Rated!
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)
Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land (2005)
John Crowley
This book is made up of notes and e-mail 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)
Lovesong of the Electric Bear (2005)
Highly Rated!
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 Mathematician Repents (2004)
Estep Nagy
A short story (?) in which Paul Erdős wakes up in the home of a Parisian mathematician, seems a bit confused, wanders around, and says some strange things. No real math is discussed in the story, but... (more)
Maths à mort (1990)
Margot Bruyère
This murder mystery which takes place at the IHES in Paris was originally entitled "Dis-moi qui tu aimes (je te dirai qui tu hais)". However, it has just been be republished (Fall of 2002) with a change... (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)
Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992)
Mario Martone (director)
"This movie describes the last day in [the] life of a famous Italian mathematician: Renato Caccioppoli. He was a fascinating and discussed person in Naples' political and cultural life. [A] member... (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, She Conjectured (2005)
Alex Kasman
A police psychologist attending a conference in Cambridge, England is pulled into an unsolved murder mystery by her mathematician boyfriend. An important theme of the story is the oppresive sexism that... (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)
Napier's Bones (2011)
Derryl Murphy
In the fantasy/SF world of this novel, numerates are special people who are aware of the fact that numbers themselves are alive and can be coaxed or controlled into doing seemingly magical things for them.... (more)
Necroscope (Series) (1992)
Brian Lumley
Harry Keogh is a "necroscope" who can communicate with the dead. So, when omens suggest that the Möbius strip and space-time are going to be relevant to his plans in the near future, he goes straight... (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)
On the Quantum Theoretic Implications of Newton's Alchemy (2007)
Highly Rated!
Alex Kasman
A postdoc at the mysterious "Institute for Mathematical Analysis and Quantum Chemistry" is surprised to learn that his work on Riemann-Hilbert Problems is being used as part of his employer's crazy alchemy... (more)
One, True Platonic Heaven: A Scientific Fiction of the Limits of Knowledge (2003)
John L. Casti
A novel about the limits of scientific knowledge set at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. Mathematicians Kurt Gödel and John von Neumann are among the principle characters (along with... (more)
Operation Chaos / Operation Changeling (1969)
Poul Anderson
Part of a series of stories about detectives who use magic and religion published in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine in the 1960s, Operation Changeling (later published in novelized form in Operation... (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 Parrot's Theorem (2000)
Highly Rated!
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)
PopCo (2004)
Highly Rated!
Scarlett Thomas
Alice was raised by her grandparents, a mathematician and a cryptographer, and now uses what she learned from them to make mathematical puzzles for children. Her employer, the giant toy company "PopCo",... (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)
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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Highly Rated!
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)
Ramanujan’s Miracles – A Drama To Demystify Mathematics (1997)
R.N. Kapur
A dramatization involving a particular problem which Ramanujan had solved and how two teenagers reason out why the solution works. Scene 1 of the drama has Mahalanobis and Ramanujan in conversation... (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)
The Sand-Reckoner (2000)
Highly Rated!
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)
Schwarzschild Radius (1987)
Connie Willis
Connie Willis' short-story ``Schwarzschild Radius'' is based on events in the life of Karl Schwarzschild, who gave the first exact solutions to the equations of general relativity. The historical aspects... (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)
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)
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)
Highly Rated!
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)
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)
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)
Tangents (1986)
Greg Bear
There are far too many mathematical stories about finding a way to travel into "other dimensions". Still, this one is one of my favorites. Not only do we see a clever approach to this "old" storyline,... (more)
Tenet (2012)
Lorne Campbell/ Sandy Grierson
Évariste Galois is one of two characters in this play, whose full title is apparently "Tenet: A True Story About the Revolutionary Politics of Telling the Truth about Truth as Edited by Someone Who is... (more)
The Thousand (2010)
Kevin Guilfoile
Two competing Pythagorean cults (one "fundamentalist" and the other believing in "further revelations") are behind worldwide disasters such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and hurricane Katrina in this conspiracy... (more)
The Three Body Problem (2004)
Highly Rated!
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)
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)
Turing (A Novel About Computation) (2003)
Highly Rated!
Christos Papadimitriou
The four vertices of an unlikely love "rectangle" are (a) a dying, maverick cryptographer, (b) a pregnant Internet wiz, (c) a romantic middle-aged Greek archaeologist and (d) Turing, an artificially intelligent... (more)
Turing's Delirium (2007)
Edmundo Paz Soldan
This is a hacker-counter-hacker story set in Bolivia, where the newly resurrected president hires an NSA official to set up the country's counter-espionage / cyber-security unit ("Black Chamber"). The... (more)
Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture (1992)
Highly Rated!
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 well-known episode from Godel's life, where Einstein and Oscar Morgenstern took Godel for his citizenship oath. Godel,... (more)
White Light, or What is Cantor's Continuum Problem? (1980)
Highly Rated!
Rudy Rucker
I think the best description of this book is Naked Lunch meets The Wild Numbers, with a cameo appearance by Donald Duck's nephews. Happily, this book has recently been rereleased (2001) in a new format... (more)
Whom the gods love: The story of Evariste Galois (1948)
Leopold Infeld
A fictionalized biography of the ill-fated 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 Witch of Agnesi (2006)
Robert Spiller
Solid murder mystery in which a high school math teacher finds the murderer of three of her best students. My favorite thing about this book is the way that Bonnie Pinkwater and her boyfriend -- the... (more)
The Woman in Schrödinger's Wave Equations (2005)
Eugene Mirabelli
The artist girlfriend of a grad student working in theoretical physics becomes interested in determining something about the mysterious woman with whom Erwin Schrödinger supposedly had an extra-marital... (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)

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Your Help Needed: Some site visitors remember reading works of mathematical fiction that neither they nor I can identify. It is time to crowdsource this problem and ask for your help! You would help a neighbor find a missing pet...can't you also help a fellow site visitor find some missing works of mathematical fiction? Please take a look and let us know if you have seen these missing stories anywhere!.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)