a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Scenes of Srinivasa Ramanujan's collaboration with G.H. Hardy around the time of World War I are mixed in with modern storylines including an Indian physicist who has applied Ramanujan's work to String Theory and a businessman going through the belongings of his wife, a mathematician who died while visiting India.
This play includes a great deal of "factual information": real quotes from Ramanujan and Hardy, along with serious mathematics (e.g. a discussion of the difficulty in determining the number of partitions of a natural number). Yet, I do not think its purpose is to teach the audience about these things as it is attempting to use them to create a work of art.
The play uses video along with live actors to tie together Ramanujan's story with other related (or even not so related) themes into a moving and meaningful whole. India itself is a running theme, showing up for example the form of the British Telecom customer service agent and a cleaning woman at the university. Even the collapse of bee colonies is tied in with the rest of it. Having only read the script, I obviously did not get everything out of it that I could have if I had seen it performed, but I can already say that I think it is a magnificent work of art, one that does not shy away from mentioning math, but uses the math in a way that goes beyond what could be achieved by a purely non-fictional presentation of the same material.
The Complicite website says of this play:
Some pictures from the production are available at the Barbican Theater website, at least for the moment.
|More information about this work can be found at www.complicite.org.|
|(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 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)