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The Thesis of the Absent-Minded Master (1971)
Vladimir Levshin
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Contributed by Sergey Shakhness

[This is the first book in the] trilogy called "The Master of the Absent-Minded Sciences". The heroes of the other books (and the author) establish a club, where they analyze the notes (and, later,letters) of the titular, extremely absent-minded and ignorant mathematician, whose companion (an eight year old girl named Little One - one as in the number) has to solve every problem in which he manages to get himself.

[This book] is about the author first meeting the Master before he goes on his journey, and later asked to review his thesis. The author decided to gather his friends from the other books to analyze the mistakes. They establish a Club.

Levshin's beloved children's books have never been translated into English, but can be read in Russian at

(quoted from The Thesis of the Absent-Minded Master)

- I am a mathematician, and I go into a new journey, to gather material for my thesis. And once I return and get a Master degree...

- What degree? - I asked - Master's? But it's not granted in our country for a long time already.

- Even better - the stranger said in a care-free manner, - then I'll be the only Master of these... what are they called.. yes, absent minded sciences! I mean no. Sorry, sometimes I'm a terrible mathematician... No, I mean, sometimes I am terribly absent-minded. But very rarely.

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Works Similar to The Thesis of the Absent-Minded Master
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Travel Notes of the Absent-Minded Master by Vladimir Levshin
  2. New Tales of the The Absent-Minded Master by Vladimir Levshin
  3. Three Days in Karlikania by Vladimir Levshin
  4. Little Zero the Seafarer [Captain One's frigate] by Vladimir Levshin
  5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster / Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
  6. Black Mask of Al-Jabr by Vladimir Levshin
  7. Rapunzel's Etymology of Zero by Katie May (Writer) / Seth Podowitz (Director)
  8. Donald in Mathmagic Land by Hamilton Luske (director)
  9. The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Norton Juster
  10. Monster's Proof by Richard Lewis
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GenreHumorous, Fantasy, Children's Literature,
MotifMental Illness, Academia,

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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)