a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

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”

More information about this work can be found at
(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 Multi-Colored Dome
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Folk Music Festivals and Mathematics Conferences by Erik Talvila
  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. Astor Place Barber by Audrey Nasar
  8. Do Androids Dream of Symmetric Sheaves?: And Other Mathematically Bent Stories by Colin Adams
  9. Scandal in the Fourth Dimension by Amelia Reynolds Long (as "A.R. Long")
  10. Fermat's Legacy by Ian Randal Strock
Ratings for Multi-Colored Dome:
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.


MotifAcademia, Math as Cold/Dry/Useless,
TopicLogic/Set Theory,
MediumShort Stories,

Home All New Browse Search About

Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)