a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Adventures of a University Math Professor (2001)
Donald A. Buckeye

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

This slim book is a very easy, unassuming, pleasant read which adults and sixth graders can both read with joy. It is an autobiographical fictionalization of some parts of a mathematics teacher's life. The main character is a teacher at Normal University in Michigan. “Dr. Bakay (or Bakaj in Solvak since there is no y in the Solvak language)”, as he is named, is a direct play on the author's last name. The book chronicles Dr. Bakay's background, his interactions with his math classes and his varied travels to the Far East, Middle East, Latin America and Europe with his family and students. In the process, Dr. Bakay covers a very wide range of topics in elementary mathematics in a proper fictional setting: Perfect numbers, Mersenne Primes, fractals, birthday problem, alphametics, calendar arithmetic, Mayan mathematics, etc

A small excerpt: In one of his Math Lab sessions, he asks second grade students to look at the 3-peg “Tower of Hanoii” puzzle. After analyzing the first few cases, he asks them to guess the number of moves required for n = 5 disks. Many students guess the correct answer of 31 but with disparate types of reasoning, each of which surprises the teacher. His interactions with the children in his “Math Lab” teach him novel ways in which kids think about mathematical activities (incidentally, Dr. Buckeye's book, “A Cloudburst of Math Lab Experiments”, is also referenced in the text)

Sadly, Dr. Buckeye passed away recently.

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Works Similar to The Adventures of a University Math Professor
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Pascal's Wager by Nancy Rue
  2. Lean Your Loneliness Slowly Against Mine [Lene din ensomhet langsomt mot min] by Klara Hveberg
  3. The Divine Proportions of Luca Pacioli by W.A.W. Parker
  4. La Conjecture de Syracuse by Antoine Billot
  5. Going Out by Scarlett Thomas
  6. The Last Theorem by Buzz Mauro
  7. Long Division by Michael Redhill
  8. Singleton by Greg Egan
  9. Young Beaker by J.T. Lamberty, Jr.
  10. A Doubter's Almanac by Ethan Canin
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MotifAcademia, Math Education,
TopicReal Mathematics,

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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)