a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

I Had to Call In a Mathematician (2019)
Erik Talvila

This short story published in the Mathematical Intelligencer answers the age old question "What if math was more like plumbing?"

(quoted from I Had to Call In a Mathematician)

“Hi Janice. It's Mort. I've got another problem here and I've had to call in a mathematician. I'm stuck at home until she's done.”


The mathematician came over with a sheet of paper.

“It looks like someone was trying to use a contraction mapping here. That won't work unless the target space is compact.”

“Oh, ah, I wonder how that got in there. One of the kids, maybe.” She rolled her eyes like I was an idiot.

“I'm not sure if this space is separable. Where did you get it?”

Thanks to Allan Goldberg for noticing this very funny story.

More information about this work can be found at
(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 I Had to Call In a Mathematician
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Gangs of New Math by Robert W. Vallin
  2. Incomplete Proofs by John Chu
  3. The Integral: A Horror Story by Colin Adams
  4. The Legend of Howard Thrush by Alex Kasman
  5. Mathematically Bent by Colin Adams
  6. Riot at the Calc Exam and Other Mathematically Bent Stories by Colin Adams
  7. A Deprogrammer's Tale by Colin Adams
  8. A Killer Theorem by Colin Adams
  9. The Adventures of Topology Man by Alex Kasman
  10. The Killion by Ian Frazier
Ratings for I Had to Call In a Mathematician:
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:
5/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)

MediumShort Stories,

Home All New Browse Search About

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)