a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Folk Music Festivals and Mathematics Conferences (2015)
Erik Talvila
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The narrator in this work of mathematical fiction attends both a music festival and a math research conference. This allows the author, a math professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, to compare and contrast them. However, this is done in a humorous way by swapping descriptions that one would expect for one of them for the other. For instance, the folk concert is described as a dry affair where the audience does not understand or really appreciate what the musicians are doing, while the math conference begins with a "jam session" where a group of researchers improvise a proof.

I must say that I enjoy math conferences much more than the narrator enjoys the music festival in the story. Of course, each person has the right to their own opinion, but I worry that this story will give people who do not have their own experience with math conferences an undeservedly negative opinion of them.

This work was published in the Mathematical Intelligencer Volume 37, Number 3.

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Folk Music Festivals and Mathematics Conferences
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. I Had to Call In a Mathematician by Erik Talvila
  2. The Rubbish Researchers Puzzle by Michael W. Lucht
  3. Rithmatic by B.J. Novak
  4. A House for Living by Nicolette Polek
  5. The First Task of My Internship by Ziyin Xiong
  6. What the Revolution Requires by Timons Esaias
  7. A Good Problem to Have by B.J. Novak
  8. The Argentine Ant by T.C. Boyle
  9. Multi-Colored Dome by Martin Gardner
  10. Porter Piper by Anonymous
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MotifAcademia, Music, Math as Cold/Dry/Useless,
MediumShort Stories,

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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)