a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
|Papos (2007) ||Alex Rose |
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction
by the same author)
A short piece which mixes up historical facts/pseudo-facts from Greek history with rich imagination to discuss the discovery of irrational numbers (Pythagoras, Hippasus), the vanishing point in perspective geometry and the representation of 3-dimensional drawings on planar surface. This forms the spring-board for the mystical leap by one “architectural apprentice named Cretheus” who decides to invent the geometrical technique to avoid the “optical foreshortening” of perspective drawing, with startling effect. To quote, “he demonstrates that it is indeed possible to eradicate the heathen numbers embedded in our visual universe — so long as the mind is fit to create its own.”
This story appeared in Rose's anthology The Musical Illusionist and Other Tales.
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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)