MATHEMATICAL FICTION:

a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Multi-Colored Dome (1987)
Martin Gardner
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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:
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  2. Porter Piper by Anonymous
  3. Arithmetic Town / Arithmetic by Todd McEwen
  4. Probability Pipeline by Rudy Rucker / Marc Laidlaw
  5. Say Wen by Ellis Parker Butler
  6. A Matter of Geometry by Ared White
  7. Scandal in the Fourth Dimension by Amelia Reynolds Long (as "A.R. Long")
  8. Fermat's Legacy by Ian Randal Strock
  9. The Old Mathematician (from Maschalk Manor) by Anonymous
  10. Applied Mathematics by Percival Henry Truman
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Categories:
GenreHumorous,
MotifAcademia, Math as Cold/Dry/Useless,
TopicLogic/Set Theory,
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)