**
**

Return to Main Menu

Assignments:

1. Weekly problem sets.

2. A critical comparison of two short stories (4-5pp): due February 3.**
**3 The whole or a significant part of a short story using a
mathematical idea (6-7pp): due March 1.

4. A take-home final: due March 15.

5. Besides the individually assessed work, you will collaborate in small groups on creating a web page that illustrates a mathematical or literary topic. This requirement will be graded on a pass/fail basis.

*Grading*:

Problem sets: 20%

Critical comparison: 25%

Short story: 25%

Take-home final: 30%

Syllabus:

**
**January 4: Introductions

January 6, 8:

__SF__: Lasswitz, 'The Universal Library'(*Fantasia*); Ley, 'Postscript to the Universal Library'
(*Fantasia*); Stewart, 'The Kissing Number' (Reader); Clarke, 'The Nine Billion Names' (Reader);
Harper, 'Mathematical Themes in Science Fiction' (Reader)

__Math__: Berlinghoff and Grant, 'Counting Processes' (Reader)

Related Websites: The Universal Library at CMU, The Kissing Number, Spherical Cap, Sphere Packing, Nine Billion Names 0f God

**Week Two: Number Theory**

**
**January 11, 13, 15:

__SF__: Kagan, 'Fermat's Best Theorem' (Reader); Porges, 'The Devil and Simon Flagg' (*Fantasia*);
Keeler, 'John Jones' Dollar' (*Fantasia*); Le Guin, 'Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown' (Reader)

__Math__: Singh, 'Fermat's Last Stand' (Reader)

**Week Three: Probability and Statistics**

**
**January 19, 20, 22:

__SF__: Hofstadter, 'The Tale of Happiton' (*Mathenauts*); Maloney, 'Inflexible Logic' (*Fantasia*);
Donnelly, 'Tracking the Random Variable' (Reader); Egan, 'Blood Sisters' (*Axiomatic*); Russ,
'Towards an Aesthetic of Science Fiction' (Reader)

__Math__: Berlinghoff and Grant, 'What is Probability?' (Reader)

**Week Four: Equations and Chaos**

**
**January 25, 27, 29:

__SF__: Dnieprov, 'The Maxwell Equations' (*Mathenauts*); Egan, 'Unstable Orbits in the Space of
Lies' (*Axiomatic*); Grant, 'Drode's Equations' (Reader); Godwin, 'The Cold Equations' (Reader);
Le Guin, 'Introduction to *The Left Hand of Darkness* (Reader)

__Math__: Miller, 'Chaos and Fractal Geometry' (Reader); Dewdney, 'Probing the Strange Attractions
of Chaos' (Reader)

**Week Five: The Fourth Dimension**

**
**February 1, 3, 5:

__SF__: Abbott, *Flatland*; Heinlein, 'And He Built a Crooked House' (*Fantasia*); Breuer, 'The
Captured Cross-Section' (*Fantasia*); Bear, 'Tangents' (*Mathenauts*); Rucker, 'Message Found in a
Copy of *Flatland*' (*Mathenauts*)

__Math__: Chapter One of *Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension.*

*
***Week Six: Projective Geometry**

**
**February 8, 9, 10:

__SF__: Robinson, 'The Blind Geometer' (Reader); Delany, 'About 5, 750 Words' (Reader)

__Math__: Miller, 'Non-Euclidean Geometry, Topology and Networks' (Reader); Chapter Two of
*Geometry, Relativity and the Fourth Dimension.*

*
***Week Seven: Infinity**

**
**February 15, 17, 19:

__SF__: Niven, 'Convergent Series' (*Mathenauts*); Blish, 'FYI' (Reader); Egan, 'The Infinite
Assassin' (*Axiomatic*); Suvin, 'Estrangement and Cognition' (Reader)

__Math__: Moore, 'A Brief History of Infinity' (Reader); Rucker, 'One: Infinity' (Reader); Vilenkin,
'In Search of Infinity' (Reserve: Math and English Libraries)

**Week Eight: Logic and Proof**

**
**February 22, 24, 26:

__SF__: Zebrowski (*Mathenauts*); Orr, 'Euclid Alone' (*Mathenauts*); Chiang, 'Division by Zero'
(Reader); Langford, 'The Lions in the Desert' (Reader)

__Math__: Kleiner, 'Proof: A Many Splendored Thing' (Reader)

**Week Nine: Math and the Future**

**
**March 1, 3, 5:

__SF__: Le Guin, 'The Masters' (Reader); Rucker, 'A New Golden Age' (*Mathenauts*); Asimov, 'The
Feeling of Power' (*Mathenauts*)

__Math__: Horgan, 'The Death of Proof' (Reader)

**Week Ten**:

March 8: Last class

Return to Main Menu

**
I.** **Science Fiction Stories**

Abbott, Edwin A. __Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.__ 1884*
*Asimov, Isaac: '1 to 199' and 'A Feeling of Power'

Blish, James: 'FYI'

Clarke, Arthur C.: 'The Nine Billion Names of God'

Dewdney, A. K.

Donnely, Marcos: 'Tracking the Random Variable'

Dnieprov, Anatoly: 'The Maxwell Equations'

Bear, Greg: 'Tangents'

Breuer, Miles: 'The Captured Cross-Section'

Egan, Greg: 'Blood Sisters', 'Into Darkness', and 'The Infinite Assassin'

Egan, Greg: 'Unstable Orbits in the Space of Lies'

Godwin, Tom: 'The Cold Equations'

Grant, Richard: 'Drode's Equations'

Heinlein, Robert: '-And He Built A Crooked House'

Hofstadter, Douglas: 'The Tale of Happiton'

Kagan, Janet: 'Fermat's Best Theorem'

Keeler, Harry: 'John Jones's Dollar'

Langford, David: 'The Lions in the Desert'

Lasswitz, Kurd: 'The Universal Library'

Le Guin, Ursula: 'The Masters' and selections from

Ley, Willy: 'Postscript to 'The Universal Library' '

Maloney, Russell: 'Inflexible Logic'

Niven, Larry: 'Convergent Series'

Orr, William: 'Euclid Alone'

Porges, Simon: 'The Devil and Simon Flagg'

Robinson, Kim Stanley: 'The Blind Geometer'

Rucker, Rudy: 'A New Golden Age'

Rucker, Rudy: 'Message found in a copy of Flatland'

Rucker, Rudy:

Stewart, Ian: 'The Kissing Number'

Vilenkin, N. Ya: 'In Search of Infinity'

Zebrowski, George: 'Goedel's Doom'

**II. Mathematics**

Berlinghoff and Grant, 'Counting Processes'

Berlinghoff and Grant , 'What is Probability'

Berlinghoff and Grant , '4-Space in Fiction and in Art'

Dewdney, A. K. ,'Probing the Strange Attractions of Chaos'

Goldstein, Daniel, 'Do We Do Mathematics With Our Visual Brain?'

Horgan, John, 'The Death of Proof'

Kleiner, Israel, 'Proof: A Many-Splendored Thing'

Miller, Charles et al, 'Non-Euclidean Geometry, Topology, and Networks'

Miller, Charles et al, 'Chaos and Fractal Geometry'

Moore, A. W., 'A Brief History of Infinity'

Rucker, Rudy, 'One: Infinity', from __Infinity and the Min__d. Boston: Bantam, 1982

Rucker, Rudy: __The 4th Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality__. Boston: Houghton

Mifflin, 1984 (*)

Singh, Simon, 'Fermat's Last Stand'

III. Science Fiction: Theory and Practice

**
**Delany, Samuel R. __The Jewel-Hinged Jaw__. New York: Berkeley, 1977

'About 5,750 Words,' 21-36

Harper, Lila, 'Mathematical Themes in Science Fiction,' Extrapolation, Vol. 27, No. 3, 245
269.

Le Guin, Ursula K. __The Language of the Night__. New York: Perigee, 1979

'Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown,' 101-119

'Introduction to __The Left Hand of Darkness__,' 155-9

Russ, Joanna. __To Write Like A Woman__. Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1995

'Towards an Aesthetic of Science Fiction,'3-14

Suvin, Darko. __Metamorphoses of Science Fiction__. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979

'Estrangement and Cognition,' 3-15

Return to Main Menu

Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory 2

For More Information

Game Theory

Infinity

The Mandelbrot Set

Peano Arithmetic

Your Own Math Adventure

Return to Main Menu

MATC | Dartmouth
College | Warp Drive When? |

Sci-Fi Resource Guide | Fiction with a
Mathematical Content | Greg Egan's Mathematical Stories |

Back To: Dartmouth Mathematics Department

Webpage designed by: Sarah Dahl

@copyright 1998, Davies and Trout

Last Update: April 27, 1999