a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Hapgood (1988)
Tom Stoppard
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

A brief discussion of Euler's solution to the Königsburg Bridge Problem appears in Stoppard's play about espionage and quantum physics.

When a British physicist double-agent is accused of giving the Soviets secret information, he attempts to explain the situation to his superiors in an especially unhelpful way: through analogies to quantum physics (wave-particle duality, tunneling, double slit experiments, uncertainty, etc.)

In addition, one step towards a resolution of the problem involves analysis of a diagram drawn by another spy. The story of Euler and the bridges is related and used to explain that this particular diagram must show the positions of two people, and not just one.

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Works Similar to Hapgood
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Enigma by Robert Harris / Tom Stoppard
  2. Jumpers by Tom Stoppard
  3. Improbable by Adam Fawer
  4. The Blind Geometer by Kim Stanley Robinson
  5. The Eight by Katherine Neville
  6. Sneakers by Phil Alden Robinson (director)
  7. 7 Steps to Midnight by Richard Matheson
  8. The Siege Of The "Lancashire Queen" by Jack London
  9. The Boy Who Escaped Paradise by J.M. Lee (author) / Chi-Young Kim (translator)
  10. White Rabbit, Red Wolf [This Story is a Lie] by Tom Pollock
Ratings for Hapgood:
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:
1.5/5 (2 votes)
Literary Quality:
4/5 (2 votes)

MotifReal Mathematicians,

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Exciting News: The total number of works of mathematical fiction listed in this database recently reached a milestone. The 1,500th entry is The Man of Forty Crowns by Voltaire. Thanks to Vijay Fafat for writing the summary of that work (and so many others). I am also grateful to everyone who has contributed to this website. Heck, I'm grateful to everyone who visited the site. Thank you!

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)