Math Through Fiction!

July 10th, 2006 by ClickSchooling Leave a reply »

Recommended Website:
Mathematical Fiction

ClickSchooling list member Theresa recommended this website that contains a collection of over 500 fiction books, plays, films and other media that have significant references to mathematics. The site was developed by Alex Kasman, a professor of mathematics at the College of Charleston, who thought that people who like math would be interested in knowing about them because they “affect and reflect the non-mathematician’s view of this subject.”

The website has a convenient search engine that allows you to sort by author, title, or publication date. Best of all, Kasman has sorted the titles in a really helpful way as follows:

  • Select a Medium — In this section you’ll find books (with math references) that you can read for FREE online, and you’ll discover comic books, films, novels, plays, short stories, and television series that have significant references to math. Don’t miss the review of an episode of the “Simpsons” titled, “Girls Just Want to Have Sums” — it contains all kinds of references to women in mathematics.
  • Select a Genre — Choose from children’s literature, fantasy, historical fiction, horror, humor, mystery, science fiction and more. All contain significant references to math.
  • Select a Motif — This has some really interesting categories such as; anti-social mathematicians, cool or heroic mathematicians, evil mathematicians, math as exciting and useful, math as dry and useless, music and math, prodigies, proving theorems, time travel and more.
  • Select a Topic — You’ll find math references in literature and films to arithmetic, algebra, calculus, chaos, cryptography, geometry, trigonometry, infinity, physics, finance and more.

Each piece of literature or film referenced contains a review that explains what math topic is referenced in the work. The reviews themselves are really interesting reading — plus, you can read comments by visitors to this site and learn what they think about that particular book, play, or film.

Finally, Kasman explains that there are all kinds of math references in children’s literature. Rather than list them all, he only selects titles that are “unusually good or unusually interesting” to be included at this site.

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