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The Maxwell Equations (1969)
Anatoly Dnieprov
Highly Rated!

The math in this story seems very real, though the specifics of it are inconsequential to the plot. A mathematical physicist in an isolated city needs help finding a solution to a linearized version of Maxwell's equations, and he finds an offer for such help in a surprising ad in a newspaper. Going to the address listed in the paper, he finds that he is at the local insane asylum. Although this worries him, he is very pleased with the results: he shortly receives a package containing an absolutely brilliant, handwritten solution to the problem he posed. His theory that one of the residents at the asylum happens to be a great mathematician is shattered when he submits another question which is similarly answered, but in another person's handwriting. Eventually, he finds the truth, that a Nazi war criminal is working in the asylum on a method for taking ordinary people and making them into brilliant mathematicians (for the rest of their shortened lives) through electro-magnetic stimulation.
Originally published in Russian Science Fiction (edited by Robert Magidoff, 1969), this story was also reprinted in Mathenauts.

Contributed by shankar prasad

an excellent theme well knitted with characters

More information about this work can be found at another page on this Website.
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Works Similar to The Maxwell Equations
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Proof by Induction by José Pablo Iriarte
  2. Star, Bright by Mark Clifton
  3. The Crazy Mathematician by Ralph Sylvester Underwood
  4. The Seventh Stair by Frank Brandon
  5. Love and a Triangle by Stanley Waterloo
  6. Paint ‘Em Green by Burt Filer
  7. What Dead Men Tell by Theodore Sturgeon
  8. The Tale of a Comet by Spencer Edward
  9. Futility by Sterner St. Paul Meek (S.P. Meek)
  10. The Professor's Experiments - The Dimension of Time by Paul Bold
Ratings for The Maxwell Equations:
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:
3.17/5 (6 votes)
Literary Quality:
4.5/5 (6 votes)

GenreScience Fiction,
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)