Theoretical physicist Alexander Simon is on the verge of making a
mathematical discovery of tremendous importance. By collapsing the hidden
dimensions in string theory to a 2dimensional manifold, he has found the
long sought "theory of everything" (a mathematical model of physics that
unifies all of the known forces). But then, why is he so unhappy?
Although there is a little math in this book, it is presented as
being physics. (I guess mathematical physics is a subject in the gray area
between two subjects so it could be viewed as either one or the other.) My
favorite mathematical moment is when Flatland is
mentioned as one of the inspirations that led him to his career choice and
then eventually to this discovery. I like this both because it is a
reference to the importance of mathematical fiction in mathematical
fiction and also because (although this is not stated explicitly) it is an
interesting contrast to his discovery which finds textit{real} flatlands
(the twodimensional things at each point in space that his theory
describes.)
Most of the book, though, is not about math or physics but more usual human
concerns (happiness, family) and supernatural or metaphysical worldviews
(astrology, palm reading, angels, numerology and alchemy).
Contributed by
Nancy Gluck
"I bought this book by accident,
thinking that my husband (who had just
survived a course on String Theory)
would like it. I read it myself and
especially enjoyed the contrast between
the two different approaches to the
ultimate reality: mathematics and
alchemy." 
Contributed by
Susan Gaines
I read this a while ago, and thought it was a wonderful exploration of the intersections between mathmatics, philosophy and the individual. Successful as a work of literature, and as an exploration of ideas.
I stumbled on your site as I was beginning to put together ideas for a conference on "science in fiction" where novelists, sociologists of science, and scientists will gather to discuss the ways in which novelists can explore scientific knowledge in fiction, and address the question "Can we have meaningful discussions of scientific knowledge in fiction?" i.e. not just the social, political context of the science but the science itself. I myself fall into the first and last category (author of the novel "Carbon Dreams"; see the short essay "Sex, love and science" in Nature, Vol 413, 20 Sept 2001 pg 255.) but the true instigator of the conference is a group of sociologists of science in Bielefeld, Germany.
Thanks for the great website.
Susan M. Gaines

