a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Although some of the science is a bit off -- for example, the idea that the
rotation of planets has something to do with their ability to orbit the sun
or that the "star" formed by the collision of Neptune and a similarly sized
object could significantly increase the size of our sun when it falls in --
this is a brilliant bit of science fiction, well ahead of its time!
The story describes the disasterous effects on the Earth when the flaming
remains of a planetary collision (Neptune collided with some planet sized
object that came from outside our solar system) passes close by the Earth.
Just after the collision, a math professor does the computations
necessary to predict the path of "the new star" and is the first to
recognize that it will be headed towards the Earth. It is a complicated
computation, since it involves interaction with Jupiter which swings it
around a curved path. My favorite part of the story is when the math
professor announces to his students that he will not be able to finish the
course due to circumstances beyond his control, and so rather than giving
the next lecture as he had planned, he explains to them his derivation of
the dynamics which suggest the possibility that the future of human life
may be very short indeed.
|Buy this work of mathematical fiction and read reviews at amazon.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)