a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|I finally saw this final installment of the Indiana Jones movies and was surprised that there was a mathematical aspect to it. In hindsight, I realize that the reason I did not hear about it is that it is difficult to describe without any spoilers. So, let me just start by saying that there really is only a tiny bit of math in this, only barely justifying its inclusion on this website IMHO. That may be enough for most people. But, if you want more details and don't mind spoilers then read on:
A key plot point is the idea that the Antikythera mechanism was actually made by Archimedes as a way to predict spacetime distortions that allow for time travel. (In reality, there is no clear evidence linking Archimedes to the device and, of course, there is no reason to think it had anything to do with time travel.) So, characters frequently mention Archimedes, who is described as a mathematician and a genius.
Indy and his colleagues are surprised that the device seems to work. (The real device certainly was no longer functional after over 2000 years under the ocean!) When one of them says so, a Nazi scientist bursts in with armed thugs and says "Of course it works. Math works!"
Indeed, it works well enough to take them back in time where Indy gets to meet Archimedes (whom he recognizes immediately somehow).
A portrayal of a historical mathematician, several modern characters talking about him as a genius, and the bit of pro-math propaganda in the line "Math works!" (though said by a Nazi) comprise the entire math content of this film. Not a lot, but as I said, just enough to convince me that it should be included in this list.
|More information about this work can be found at www.imdb.com.
|(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.)
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)
(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)