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Multi-Colored Dome (1987)
Martin Gardner
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

A light-hearted, short story about a shy but precocious Math student working on symbolic logic (“he had read “Principia Mathematica” when he was in high school, and understood it, too”). Thesis topic, “Influence of industrial revolution on the development of symbolic logic”.

One day, he gets a letter from his aunt with Shelley's lines:

Life, like a dome of many-colored glass,
Stains the white radiance of eternity

At which he realizes there is more to life (in particular, “Nicole”) than scribbling on paper and walks away (he sends in his 2-line thesis to his adviser: “The industrial revolution had no effect whatsoever on the history of symbolic logic”)

There are a couple of nice lines in the story. One:

(quoted from Multi-Colored Dome)

Reinkopf said wistfully, “The structure of symbolic logic is the closest we can get to a colorless frame of reference”

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Works Similar to Multi-Colored Dome
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. No-Sided Professor by Martin Gardner
  2. A Very Peculiar Practice by Andrew Davies
  3. The Rubbish Researchers Puzzle by Michael W. Lucht
  4. Freemium by Louis Evans
  5. Numbers in the Dark (La notte dei numeri) by Italo Calvino
  6. The Favor by Donald Petrie (Director) / Sara Parriott (Writer) / Josann McGibbon (Writer)
  7. Family Ties (Episode: My Tutor) by Jace Richdale (Screenplay) / Sam Weisman (Director)
  8. Rucker - A Life Fractal by Eli Halberstam by John Allen Paulos
  9. Tracking the Random Variable by Marcos Donnelly
  10. Erasmus with Freckles [aka Dear Brigitte] by John Haase
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MotifAcademia, Math as Cold/Dry/Useless,
TopicLogic/Set Theory,
MediumShort Stories,

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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)