a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Letters to a Young Mathematician (2006)
Ian Stewart
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)
Highly Rated!
Note: This work of mathematical fiction is recommended by Alex for math majors, math grad students (and maybe even math professors).

I listed this one here before I had a chance to read it and am now wondering whether it should be counted as fiction at all. This is an excellent book which provides a lot of useful information about mathematics as a science and as a career. It takes the form of letters from a mathematician to his niece as she moves from high school through college and finally on to a position as a math professor, providing her with advice and mentoring all along the way. Although the niece is fictional, the mathematician seems to be Stewart himself, and so the "letters" are more like non-fictional essays on mathematics with the imaginary character of the niece merely providing the motivation and continuity.

At least for the moment I will keep this here and give it a low score for "literary quality" not because it is written poorly but because it isn't really fiction at all.

Contributed by Yolande

It's true that this book isn't actually fiction, but I don't think the genre affects the Literary Quality. It was well written, and it would attract the attention of both adults, and younger adults. Maybe even teens. I'm fifteen, and personally, I found it to be a very fascinating and interesting read.

In a whole, the book was excellent, and provided a brief little peek at the history of Mathematics. I recommend it for anybody that's interested in becoming a Mathematician, or just likes math. =)

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Letters to a Young Mathematician
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Dialógusok a matematikáról [Dialogues on Mathematics] by Alfréd Rényi
  2. A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel by Gaurav Suri / Hartosh Singh Bal
  3. Math Girls by Hiroshi Yuki
  4. The Kissing Number by Ian Stewart
  5. Turing (A Novel About Computation) by Christos Papadimitriou
  6. Lucy and David and the God Equation by Alan McKenzie
  7. Ultima lezione a Gottinga [Last lecture at Göttingen] by Davide Osenda
  8. L.A. Math: Romance, Crime and Mathematics in the City of Angels by James D. Stein
  9. Prime Suspects: The Anatomy of Integers and Permutations by Andrew Granville / Jennifer Granville / Robert J. Lewis (Illustrator)
  10. Lost in the Math Museum by Colin Adams
Ratings for Letters to a Young Mathematician:
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:
4.75/5 (4 votes)
Literary Quality:
3/5 (4 votes)

MotifAcademia, Real Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians, Math as Beautiful/Exciting/Useful,
TopicAlgebra/Arithmetic/Number Theory, Analysis/Calculus/Differential, Real Mathematics,

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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)