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Mathematician Proof (1920)
Ralph Ellison de Castro

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

An utterly trite story about a genius of a mathematician (aren't they all? To wit, “he had the binomial theorem for breakfast, lunched on integral calculus and for his evening meal considered attempts at the solution of the age old problem of squaring the circle” — clearly not a fan of Lindemann), Thaddeus Randolph. Thaddeus, the world's foremost authority on combinatorics, publishes a paper on the design of a fool-proof safe. His school friend, now on the Chairman of a bank, gets the safe built but makes some pragmatic changes to the design during implementation. He challenges Thaddeus with a goading remark that the safe is fool-proof against everyone, including mathematicians. That sets off the title of the story, the safe is duly broken, the author attempts to build some suspense about the person who broke it — turns out it was some professional safe-cracker, not Thaddeus. Atrociously written.

Published in All-Story Weekly January 17, 1920.

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Works Similar to Mathematician Proof
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Getting the Combination by Isaac Asimov
  2. Say Wen by Ellis Parker Butler
  3. A Matter of Geometry by Ared White
  4. The Triangular House [La Casa Triangular] by Ramon Gomez de la Serna
  5. Porter Piper by Anonymous
  6. Scandal in the Fourth Dimension by Amelia Reynolds Long (as "A.R. Long")
  7. Applied Mathematics by Percival Henry Truman
  8. Agha and Math by Vladmir Karapetoff
  9. The Old Mathematician (from Maschalk Manor) by Anonymous
  10. The Wonderful Dog Suit by Donald Hall
Ratings for Mathematician Proof:
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Mathematical Content:
2/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
1/5 (1 votes)

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)