a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Mirror Image (1972)
Isaac Asimov
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

A robot volunteers the aid of his human, Earthling friend to settle a dispute between a pair of feuding "spacer" mathematicians. It seems that an old mathematician (over 270 years old in fact) and a young mathematician (only in his 50s) both tell the same story: one of them made a startling new discovery in neurobiophysics and told the other one about it, and then the other one stole the idea. The stories are identical, except that the roles are reversed: each claims the other stole the idea. The idea of symmetry runs throughout the story (and is the key to the solution of the mystery.)

Originally published in Analog magazine (1972).

Contributed by Adlai

Despite containing almost no mathematical content, this is a highly insightful story about mathematicians, and innovators in general.

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Mirror Image
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. A Mathematician's Galatea by Andrew Magrath
  2. Furuhata Ninzaburô (Episode 13) by Kôki Mitani
  3. The Ultimate Crime by Isaac Asimov
  4. The Last Answer by Isaac Asimov
  5. The Image in the Mirror by Dorothy Leigh Sayers
  6. The Square Cube Law by Fletcher Pratt
  7. Go, Little Book by Isaac Asimov
  8. The Feeling of Power by Isaac Asimov
  9. Dalrymple’s Equation by Paul Fairman
  10. Sixty Million Trillion Combinations by Isaac Asimov
Ratings for Mirror Image:
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:
2/5 (4 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.75/5 (4 votes)

GenreMystery, Science Fiction,
MediumShort Stories,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)