MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Mathematician Proof (1920)
Ralph Ellison de Castro
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Contributed by Vijay Fafat

An utterly trite story about a genius of a mathematician (aren't they all? To wit, “he had the binomial theorem for breakfast, lunched on integral calculus and for his evening meal considered attempts at the solution of the age old problem of squaring the circle” — clearly not a fan of Lindemann), Thaddeus Randolph. Thaddeus, the world's foremost authority on combinatorics, publishes a paper on the design of a fool-proof safe. His school friend, now on the Chairman of a bank, gets the safe built but makes some pragmatic changes to the design during implementation. He challenges Thaddeus with a goading remark that the safe is fool-proof against everyone, including mathematicians. That sets off the title of the story, the safe is duly broken, the author attempts to build some suspense about the person who broke it — turns out it was some professional safe-cracker, not Thaddeus. Atrociously written.

Published in All-Story Weekly January 17, 1920.

(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.)

Works Similar to Mathematician Proof
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Getting the Combination by Isaac Asimov
  2. Say Wen by Ellis Parker Butler
  3. A Matter of Geometry by Ared White
  4. Porter Piper by Anonymous
  5. Scandal in the Fourth Dimension by Amelia Reynolds Long (as "A.R. Long")
  6. Applied Mathematics by Percival Henry Truman
  7. Agha and Math by Vladmir Karapetoff
  8. The Old Mathematician (from Maschalk Manor) by Anonymous
  9. Prost, der Faust-Tragödie (-n)ter Teil [Prost: the (-n)th Part of the Faust Tragedy] by Kurd Lasswitz
  10. The Root and the Ring by Wyman Guin
Ratings for Mathematician Proof:
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:
2/5 (1 votes)
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Literary Quality:
1/5 (1 votes)
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Categories:
GenreHumorous,
MotifGenius,
Topic
MediumShort Stories,

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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)