a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Mangum, P.I. returns in this mystery in which the unproven Gauss' Last Lemma is wielded as a murder weapon. Apparently, a certain approach to proving it is so enticing that merely showing it to mathematicians results in their eventual death as they forego eating in order to work on it. (This is vaguely reminiscent of Ian Frazier's killion, a number so big that anyone who thinks about it dies, and Monty Python's joke so funny that people die laughing.)
Note that Gauss' Last Lemma is not a real mathematical conjecture, though its similarity to ``Fermat's Last Theorem'' makes it sound vaguely familiar.
Originally published as Mathematical Intelligencer Volume 29, Number 3 / September, 2007, it also appears in the 2009 collection Riot at the Calc Exam.....
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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)