
The 39 Steps (1935) 
 Alfred Hitchcock (director) 

Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 thriller follows the getaway of Richard Hannay (Robert Donat), a man accused of murder. While Hannay must outsmart the police in his escape, he also finds himself sought... (more) 


7 Steps to Midnight (1993) 
 Richard Matheson 

In this unnerving, `Kafkaesque' suspense novel by well known horror author Richard Matheson, a government mathematician sees reality collapse around him as his life is turned into a surrealistic version... (more) 


The Adventure of the Russian Grave (1995) 
 William Barton / Michael Capobianco 

Even in the old Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Sherlock Holmes' archnemesis was a mathematician. Moriarty was said to be a math professor who (when he wasn't being evil) worked on the binomial theorem and... (more) 


The Ah of Life (2010) 
 Banks Helfrich (Writer and Director) 

At the beginning of this film we see various stages in the life of Nigel. We see him as a high school student about to fail math due to lack of interest in the subject. We see him as an old man who enjoys... (more) 


Another New Math (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

A mathematician and his young daughter try to convince a school board to consider teaching advanced mathematics to elementary school children in this short story that appeared in the collection Reality... (more) 


Apartheid, Superstrings and Mordecai Thubana (1991) 
 Michael Bishop 

I don't want to get into a debate here about whether superstrings are math or physics. I know mathematicians and physicists who would argue (with some good points on each side) that it is in their area... (more) 


Applied Mathematical Theology (2006) 
 Gregory Benford 

Benford, a physicist and science fiction author, wrote this piece about a message hidden in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) for the journal Nature's "Futures" column. It cites (fictional)... (more) 



Approaching Perimelasma (1998) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

As part of a planned experiment, a man falls into a black hole and escapes through a wormhole. (Don't worry, it is only a backup copy of his mind on an artificial body specifically designed for this task.)... (more) 


Arcadia (1993) 
 Tom Stoppard 

Stoppard's critically successful play includes long discussions of topics of
mathematical interest including: Fermat's Last Theorem and Newtonian
determinism, iterated algorithms, the second law of thermodynamics,
Fourier's... (more) 


Archive (Travelers, Season 3 Episode 8) (2018) 
 Ken Kabatoff / Brad Wright 

Math plays a major role in this episode of the Netflix series "Travelers". Following the show's usual format, the episode begins with a person in the present day going about his normal activity when... (more) 


The Arrows of Time [Orthogonal Book Three] (2014) 
 Greg Egan 

Egan's "Orthogonal Trilogy" concludes with the final part of the journey of the Peerless and its crew of scientists, mathematicians and engineers hoping to find a way to save their homeworld from destruction.... (more) 


Artifact (1985) 
 Gregory Benford 

In this novel a team of scientists investigates a mysterious
archaeological find. It soon becomes apparent that more than just
archaelogy will be needed to understand it, and so a pair of physicists... (more) 


Atomic Anna (2022) 
 Rachel Barenbaum 

I loved this plot from the moment I heard about it: A teenage math genius learns through comic books left for her by her mother that her grandmother who invented time travel needs her help solving some... (more) 


The Banana Girls (2017) 
 Karim F. Hirji 

This rare example of African mathematical fiction was written by a Fellow of the Tanzania Academy of Sciences who previously won awards for his work on the statistical analysis of small sample discrete... (more) 


Beyond Infinity (2004) 
 Gregory Benford 

Cley is one of the few "original" humans left in a future where most of the characters are genetically enhanced. These engineered lifeforms, whether they are Supras (a highly advanced humanoid) or based... (more) 




The Bishop Murder Case (1928) 
 S.S. van Dine (pseudonym of Willard Huntington Wright) 

Our hero, Vance, says at the end of this mystery novel: "At the outset I was able to postulate a mathematician as the criminal agent. The difficulty of naming the murderer lay in the fact that nearly... (more) 


Blowups Happen (1940) 
 Robert A. Heinlein 

A mathematician discovers that his formulas predict that an important
new power station poses an extremely grave risk to humanity, and he
must convince others of the danger.
reprinted in THE PAST... (more) 


Boltzmann's Ghost (1998) 
 Ken Wharton 

A physicist encounters an apparently crazy man who tries to convince him
that some beings experience time backwards. His intriguing explanation of
this phenomenon depends on theoretical physics, and... (more) 


The Bones of Time (1996) 
 Kathleen Ann Goonan 

A young 21st century mathematician named Cen (short for Century) Kalakaua falls in love with a 19th century Hawaiian princess when they meet through an unusual temporal phenomenon. He becomes obsessed... (more) 


The Book of Getting Even (2009) 
 Benjamin Taylor 

A brilliant homosexual teenager uses mathematics as an escape from the pressures of everyday life, including his father, a rabbi in 1970's New Orleans. Along the way, he gets to know (and love, in a variety of ways) the family of a Nobel prize winning physicist and he himself becomes a cosmologist.
(more) 


Border Guards (1999) 
 Greg Egan 

In a virtual universe shaped like a 3torus, free from disease and death, Jamil is easily depressed but enjoys playing a game of quantum soccer with his old friends, and one new friend. The new friend... (more) 


Buried Alive at the End of the World (2011) 
 Blair Bourrassa 

A completely paralyzed mathematician receives congratulations from colleagues and other hospital visitors on the culmination of his research in a large scale physics experiment that is about to be conducted..but... (more) 


Calculating God (2000) 
 Robert J. Sawyer 

Though it is considerably less mathematical than Factoring Humanity, it holds together a bit better as a novel. Here, we encounter aliens who view the existence of god (a creator of the universe) as a... (more) 


The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel (2018) 
 Mary Robinette Kowal 

This novel, which is the first in a series of prequels by the author for her Hugo Awardwinning story "The Lady Astronaut of Mars", is a sort of alternate history version of Hidden Figures.
In the world... (more) 


Case of Lies (2005) 
 Perri O'Shaughnessy 

An old, unsolved casino murder becomes mathematical when three of the witnesses turn out to have been math students using their skills to win at gambling. Quite a bit of detailed discussion of number... (more) 


Catch the Lightning [Lightning Strikes Vols. III] (1997) 
 Catherine Asaro 

A 17 yearold girl from Los Angeles finds herself in a sexual/romantic relationship with a notquitehuman timetraveller in this book which continues the author's "Skolian saga".
The story is actually... (more) 


The Circumference of the World (2023) 
 Lavie Tidhar 

This genrebending metafictional novel concerns a mysterious book called "Lode Stars" by a pulp science fiction author who founded a religion. The main tenets of that religion are that the universe is... (more) 


The Clockwork Rocket [Orthogonal Book One] (2011) 
 Greg Egan 

Egan's "Orthogonal Trilogy" explains how the Peerless and its crew of scientists, mathematicians and engineers was launched in the hope if find a way to save their homeworld from destruction. A major... (more) 


Context (2005) 
 John Meaney 

This is the second book in the Nulapeiron Sequence by John Meaney. The protagonist is still Tom Corcorigan, who in the first novel rose from slavery to royalty in part because of his "logosophical" (read... (more) 


Coyote Moon (2003) 
 John A. Miller 

Well, this book is hard to describe! It's certainly different and not easily categorizable. It is a novel that addresses the question "What if a young, nerdy, MIT mathematics professor died of cancer... (more) 


The Crazy Mathematician (1964) 
 Ralph Sylvester Underwood 

Prof. Rumpel, a "genius touched by madness  a world sensation in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy  you name it", considers matter and spacetime to be infinitely divisible. Just like there... (more) 


Dark as Day (2002) 
 Charles Sheffield 

Alex Ligon, though unbelievably rich, chooses to work voluntarily at a government
agency where his predictive models for the future of the human race (based,
he claims, on the principles of statistical... (more) 


Dark Integers (2007) 
 Greg Egan 

The ``cold war'' between this universe with our mathematical laws and a bordering universe with different ones (which began in "Luminous") heats up when the numerical experiments of a mathematical physicist... (more) 


The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) 
 Robert Wise (director) / Harry Bates (story) / Edmund H. North 

One must wonder how aliens might communicate with humans when and if they arrive on Earth. In the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still, the extraterrestrial Klaatu (Michael Rennie) introduces himself... (more) 


A Deadly Medley of Smedley (2003) 
 Feargus Gwynplaine MacIntyre 

Paradox Patrol officer Julie Anne Callender, with the help of her brother
Gregorian and her uncle Newgate, track down yet again the timecrime master
of evil Smedley Faversham (and atrocious punmeister)... (more) 


Deception (2003) 
 Eric Altman 

The differential geometer who has discovered a formula for the lifetime of tiny black holes is the only decent character in this book. That is not to say that the others are poorly written, just that... (more) 


The Devil You Don't (1970) 
 Keith Laumer 

The devil (who is not such a bad guy after all) seeks help from a quantum physics expert to fight off some aliens (who are not so evil either) that happen to disrupt the "Randomness Field". This disruption... (more) 


The Devouring Tide (1944) 
 John Russell Fearn (under the pseudonym Polton Cross) 

Another horridly written story by JRF, this time about an allconsuming, universedestroying frontier of “nonspacetime” dubbed “Black Infinity”, a shock wave from the original... (more) 


Diaspora (1998) 
 Greg Egan 

"This is the only sciencefiction book I have ever
read to define the term fiber bundle."
said contributor David Moews of this book. The same for me, though I was
disappointed to see that it was... (more) 


Dichronauts (2017) 
 Greg Egan 

The protagonist(s) in this story are symbiotic creatures who can only see in all directions when they work together because the laws of physics in their world have strange implications for the way that... (more) 


Dirac (2006) 
 Dietmar Dath 

The protagonist tries to write a novel
about the mathematician and physicist Paul Dirac. Excerpts from
Dirac's works and Geoffrey A. Landis' novel "Ripples in the Dirac
Sea" are implemented in the plot, so you can learn a lot about
mathematics and quantum physics.
(As far as I know, this novel is currently only available in the original German. Please correct me if I'm wrong.) (more) 


Dispel Illusion (2019) 
 Mark Lawrence 

This third book in the "Impossible Times" series continues telling the story of math prodigy Nick Hayes and the bizarre time loop he experiences/causes. Many of the chapters in this book take place in... (more) 


The Disposessed (1974) 
 Ursula K. Le Guin 

A utopian novel in which theories of time in mathematical physics ("chronotopology", "sequency and simultaneity", "general temporal theories") play an important role.
.
In brief, it is a gem of... (more) 


Distances (2008) 
 Vandana Singh 

Most members of Anasunya's species have "a gift". Since she has a gift of mathematics, she leaves her aquatic home and begins working at the
Temple of Mathematical Arts. She has a gift that allows... (more) 


Distress (1995) 
 Greg Egan 

My friends and I are all in agreement on this one: this book starts
out great (at a mathematical physics conference where people are
talking about the latest theories of quantum gravity) but then it
degenerates... (more) 


Divergence (2007) 
 Tony Ballantyne 

This is the third novel of a trilogy that began with RECURSION and
CAPACITY. Set in the 23rd century, the nannying of humanity by
government and computers is the cause of some discomfort and rebellion.
Along... (more) 


The Doors of Eden (2020) 
 Adrian Tchaikovsky 

A handful of inhabitants of Earths with different evolutionary histories find themselves either working together to save their worlds as the multiverse collapses. The characters include a cryptidhunting... (more) 


Drode's Equations (1981) 
 Richard Grant 

When this story takes place, the fictional "Drode's Equations" have been
lost for so long that they have become practically mythological. And so
the historian protagonist is surprised to find them in... (more) 


Eifelheim (2006) 
 Michael Flynn 

In this award winning science fiction novel, Tom and Sharon have a lot in common. They share an apartment, both use sophisticated mathematics in their research, and both become completely obsessed with... (more) 


The Einstein Enigma (2010) 
 José Rodrigues Dos Santos 

An adventure novel whose MacGuffin is a proof of the existence of God, formulated and hidden by Albert Einstein. There is more talk than action, which may disappoint some readers.
For those interested... (more) 


The Einstein SeeSaw (1932) 
 Miles J. Breuer 

This is another of the hyperspace stories by Miles Breuer. This time, a mathematical physicist discovers that mattter can be tossed around in and out of space(time) [see his papers, "A Preliminary Report... (more) 


Emilie (2010) 
 Kaija Saariaho (composer)/Amin Maalouf (libretto) 

In this opera, a single performer portrays the final days in the life of Émilie du Châtelet, whose promising career as a mathematical physicist in the 18th century was tragically cut short at the age of 42. Émilie du Châtelet's story is also told in two recent plays: see Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight and Legacy of Light . (more) 



Equations of Life (2011) 
 Simon Morden 

To escape from his life in organized crime, the protagonist creates a fake identity as a physics student named Samuil Petrovich. Though he has made an incredible discovery in theoretical physics, Petrovich... (more) 


The Eternal Flame [Orthogonal Book Two] (2012) 
 Greg Egan 

This second novel in Egan's "Orthogonal Trilogy" continues to follow the scientific and mathematical discoveries of creatures on a space ship hoping to find a way to save their home world. That plot and... (more) 


The Exception (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

Written in the form of a dialogue between a man in a nursing home and his grandchild, this short story describes an undergraduate research project that produces a surprising answer to one of the most famous... (more) 


Exordia (2024) 
 Seth Dickson 

Seth Dickinson's Exordia (Jan 2024) takes as one of its central conceits the notion that the physical universe is an expression of mathematical reality, and has as one of its central characters a Chinese... (more) 



The Fatal Equation (1933) 
 Arthur Strangeland 

This is a very wellcrafted murder mystery executed quite ingeniously. A mathematical physicist  Jan Friede  sets up a system of 20+ equations which eliminate the time variable from Einstein's equations... (more) 


The Fear Index (2011) 
 Robert Harris 

Dr. Alex Hoffmann is an antisocial billionaire whose investment firm uses what he calls "Autonomous Machine Reasoning" (AMR) to make spectacular profits based on the Volatility Index (VIX), from which... (more) 


Feigenbaum Number (1995) 
 Nancy Kress 

A postdoc who perceives reality different than other people (he sees something like the Platonic ideals people ought to be) works with a professor on combining chaos theory with particle physics. I'm... (more) 


Finity (1999) 
 John Barnes 

A madcap science fiction adventure involving much bouncing between alternate realities, with vague references to quantum physics and mathematics.
The narrator is an astronomer who has developed a mathematical... (more) 


Flatterland: like Flatland, only more so (2001) 
 Ian Stewart 

In this "sequel" to Flatland, popular
mathematics writer Ian Stewart lets us accompany the granddaugther of the
original "A. Square" who starred in original classic, as she learns about
fractal dimensions,... (more) 


The Flight That Disappeared (1961) 
 Reginald Le Borg (Director) 

An unsuspecting mathematician and some scientists are taken to another dimension where they stand trial for their involvement in the creation of horrible weapons. Perhaps during the Cold War and before... (more) 


La formule: (A story of fourth dimension) (1996) 
 Jean Ray 

A very short story from the ultramundane realm, relying on the theme that certain types of mathematical knowledge open up portals to higher dimensions.
A mathematical physicist, Lenglade, lives up high... (more) 



A Game of Consequences (1998) 
 David Langford 

Two reckless researchers at "The Mathematics Institute" undertake dangerous "quantum" research based on mathematical mumbojumbo like "translating her mathematical intuitions into appropriate quasishapes and pseudoangles for Ranjit's algorithmic probes".
First published in Starlight 2 (1998) edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden.
(more) 


The Gates of Heaven (1984) 
 Paul Preuss 

The plot concerns a mathematician whose career has been monotone decreasing. But he comes alive again when a SETI project finds a human message coming from 12 light years away. It seems somebody must have fallen into something like a black hole and our hero tries to understand what happened.
(more) 


The Girl with the Celestial Limb (1990) 
 Pauline Melville 

Although recognized as mathematically talented in school, Jane Cole hid from all things intellectual after having a frightening epiphany regarding infinity. Math, however, seemingly exacts its revenge... (more) 


God and Stephen Hawking (2000) 
 Robin Hawdon 

Although most people know him as a "scientist", Stephen Hawking is probably the best known living mathematician. (Technically, he is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.) This play examines his life and work.
(more) 


The God Patent (2009) 
 Ransom Stephens 

After his life falls apart, an engineer tries to revive a collaboration with the fundamentalist Christian with whom he once wrote two patents based on the Bible. While he viewed these patents for what... (more) 


Going Out (2002) 
 Scarlett Thomas 

A group of unusual friends go on a journey to Wales to meet with a healer who they hope can help each of them with their problems. The group consists of Luke (who is unable to go outside due to allergies... (more) 


Good Benito (1994) 
 Alan P. Lightman 

This novel presents many instances in the life of mathematical physicist
Bennett Lang, the "Benito" of the title. The different scenes, presented
nonchronologically, cover most of his life from early... (more) 


The Gostak and the Doshes (1930) 
 Miles J. Breuer (M.D.) 

In this classic science fiction story, a mathematical physicist convinces his friend to try to travel into another dimension by merely altering the way he thinks about things. The friend finds himself... (more) 


Gut Symmetries (1997) 
 Jeanette Winterson 

Two love affairs: one between a pair of physicists and the other between
the female physicist and her lovers wife. (The author presents this
analogy: A love triangle reduced to a line.)
It is often... (more) 


Gödel geht [Gödel's Exit] (1991) 
 Andreas Findig 

Kurt Gödel's reflection steps out of the mirror and joins him at his table in a cafe. (That may seem weird, but the author assures us that such fantastical things are always happening in Vienna.) Since... (more) 


Gödel Incomplete (2013) 
 Martha Goddard (Writer and Director) 

A 21st century physicist repeatedly travels back in time for short visits to the 20th century as a result of her experiments at the Large Hadron Collider. For completely unexplained reasons, she always... (more) 


Hidden Figures (2016) 
 Allison Schroeder (writer) / Theodore Melfi (director and writer) 

Hidden Figures is a "Hollywoodized" version of the true story of three women who worked in the "colored computers" unit at NASA's Langley Research Center. In particular, it follows Katherine (Goble)... (more) 


Hidden in Glass (1931) 
 Paul Ernst 

A murder mystery involving a mathematical physicist. One Professor Brainard, who is claimed to have mastered "the secret of the fourth dimension" (haven't they all in the pulps?), has a serious professional... (more) 


The Higher Mathematics (1954) 
 Martin C. Wodehouse 

This short story is written as a total spoof which reminded me of Martin Gardner’s “The NoSided professor”, with a certain amount of snarky humor woven in.
A professor of physics conducts an... (more) 


The Hollow Man (1993) 
 Dan Simmons 

A psychic mathematician is driven to the edge of insanity as his life partner approaches death. The mathematician's research is described explicitly  as are some of the horrific events that befall... (more) 


The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin (1927) 
 Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi 

Written by a distant relative of the more famous author Count Tolstoy,
by one of the first Russian science fiction writers, this tells the
story of a mad scientist who tries to take over the world,... (more) 


The Imaginary (1942) 
 Isaac Asimov 

As Asimov notes in his afterword to it (in THE EARLY ASIMOV), it is mostly about the idea of applying mathematical formulae to psychology, which he later did with his psychohistory in the "Foundation"... (more) 


Improbable (2005) 
 Adam Fawer 

A probability expert suffering from epilepsy (with hints of schizophrenia) is in over his head with gambling debts to the Russian mob and a beautiful, renegade CIA agent before discovering that he has the ability to predict the future. A running subplot is the mathematical aspects of determinism (i.e. (more) 


In Good King Charles's Golden Days (1939) 
 George Bernard Shaw 

Considered by many to be Shaw's worst play, this late example of his
witty writing may be of special interest to visitors to this site. It
takes place at the home of Sir Isaac Newton where he is joined... (more) 


Incandescence (2008) 
 Greg Egan 

This "hard SF" novel focuses on the scientific progress of aliens living on a planet near the galactic center. Presumably because the curvature of space was obvious to them from the start (while it took... (more) 


The Infinities (2010) 
 John Banville 

As mathematician Adam Godley lies seemingly unconscious and dying in bed, his family and professional rival wander through his home.
The title is a reference to the computational anomalies in quantum... (more) 


Inside Out (1987) 
 Rudy Rucker 

The story itself is quite disturbing IMO but has the usual zaniness of his other writings. Features quarks as "hypertoroidal vortex rings/loops of superstring", a "cumberquark", "hypertorii with fuzzy... (more) 


The Intangible (2022) 
 C.J. Washington 

Amanda is a data scientist who continues to show signs of pregnancy even after her miscarriage. Marissa is a math professor overwhelmed with guilt after a fatal accident. Their husbands are both nonmathematicians... (more) 



Jack of Eagles (1952) 
 James Blish 

Blish bases this novel on a quasimathematical explanation of ESP and psychokinesis which was really not necessary and doesn't hold together at all (“the activity of the psi mechanism as a whole... (more) 


The Labyrinth Key (2004) 
 Howard V. Hendrix 

In the near future, the US and China engage in a race involving
the ultimate quantum computer and quantum cryptography. Along
the way, numerous mathematical concepts are cited and sometimes
discussed,... (more) 


The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics (2019) 
 Olivia Waite 

Lucy Muchelny is responsible for the mathematical aspects of her father's famous publications in astronomy, but as this is the 19th century she receives no credit for that contribution. Desperate for... (more) 


The Last Starship from Earth (1968) 
 John Boyd 

A mathematician named Haldane IV and a poet named Helix fall in love and try to learn the truth about the famous 19th century mathematician Fairweather I. Unfortunately, both of these things are against... (more) 


Law and Order: Criminal Intent (Episode: Inert Dwarf) (2004) 
 Renee Balcer (story) / Warren Leight (script) / Alex Chapple (director) 

The collaborator of a worldfamous, wheelchair bound mathematical physicist is murdered. When the detectives investigate, suspicion falls on the mathematician's wife/nurse who appears to be abusing him.
Like... (more) 


Legacy of Light (2009) 
 Karen Zacarías 

Two tales of discovery and pregnancy are told in this play. An astrophysicist at the Newton Institute whose team has discovered evidence of a planet in formation feels that she is too old to be pregnant... (more) 


Let Newton Be! (2011) 
 Craig Baxter 

The three actors in this play portray Isaac Newton at three different stages of his life, as well as occasionally representing other people. Interestingly, the three Newton's interact with each other,... (more) 


Let's Consider Two Spherical Chickens (2016) 
 Tommaso Bolognesi 

Although it takes the form of a murder mystery, Bolognesi's "Let's Consider Two Spherical Chickens" really is more of an essay than a work of fiction. Like the other chapters from the collection in which... (more) 


Life and Fate (1959) 
 Vasily Grossman 

A Russian nuclear physicist flirts with the wife of his mathematician colleague and makes an important mathematical discovery, all during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
I had not heard of this... (more) 


Light (2002) 
 M. John Harrison 

This dark and violent space opera features many references to fractals and spaceships "which were made of nothing much more than mathematics, magnetic fields, and some kind of smart carbon".
Here is an... (more) 


The Light of Other Days (2000) 
 Arthur C. Clarke / Stephen Baxter 

Using the WormCam (a camera sent through a wormhole in spacetime), it is
possible to witness any event that is taking or has taken place in the
universe. This makes privacy essentially an obsolete... (more) 


Limited Wish (2019) 
 Mark Lawrence 

In this sequel to One Word Kill, math prodigy Nick Hayes develops the theory of time travel that his future self used to go back in time to meet himself in the first book. The idea, which sounds neat... (more) 


Lines of Longitude (1997) 
 Stephen Baxter 

The story tries to delve into Hawking's idea of imaginary time  how it may occur that at the beginning of the universe, time and space were ambiguously defined, smeared out into each other as a flattened... (more) 


The Living Equation (1934) 
 Nathan Schachner 

A mathematician invents a machine that provides abstract mathematical objects ("vectors" and "tensors") a certain reality. His goal is to allow them not to solve equations but to create new ones. However,... (more) 


Location, velocity, end point (2022) 
 Matt Tighe 

A timetraveler tries to reach the right point in spacetime to save his young son from a horrible disease. However, the computations he needs to achieve this goal are frustrated by some analogue of Heisenberg's... (more) 


Mad Destroyer (1930) 
 Fletcher Pratt 

The story is about a mathematician/astronomer who has discovered an exact solution to the multibody problem in gravitation i.e. a formula which can easily calculate the positions and velocities of N... (more) 


The Magic Staircase (1946) 
 Nelson Slade Bond 

A Mathematics professor develops a theory of "intradimensional" spaces, hypothesizing that the vast, empty spaces in atoms form a parallel dimension in which alternative histories of "what might have... (more) 


The Mandelbrot Bet (2016) 
 Dirk Strasser 

The byline of the story is: "Does mathematics truly describe the physical universe, or is the world of mathematics actually the universe itself? And what do these concepts have to do with the hopes and... (more) 


The MANIAC (2023) 
 Benjamin Labatut 

The life of John von Neumann is the main focus of this book which (like the author's other work in this database) could easily be mistaken for a nonfictional history book. The middle portion of the book... (more) 


Manifold Thoughts (2024) 
 Patrick Freivald 

A talented female mathematics grad student (who is a postdoc by the end of the story) helps her thesis advisor model the dynamics of CalabiYau manifolds, discovering that they are both sentient and deadly.
The... (more) 


The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021) 
 Lev Grossman 

This short film is based on a short story by Lev Grossman is a repeatthesameday romcom that uses 2D projections of a tesseract as a plot point! I liked it even if it’s a little handwavy, and math... (more) 


El matemático del Rey (2002) 
 Juan Carlos Arce 

It is a novel about a period in the lives of Juan Lezuza and his friend Luis Obelar during the first years of the rule of Phillip IV of Spain. Juan Lezuza is appointed teacher of the King, but it is... (more) 


The Mathematical Kid (1940) 
 Ross Rocklynne 

Ross Rocklynne had a specific style in many of his stories. Set up a very nonstandard astrophysical situation, and then solve it unconventionally. In “The Mathematical Kid”, he describes a young... (more) 


The Mathematician (1967) 
 Will Manson 

Despite the title, there is almost no math in this pulpy spy story. Its Cold War nationalism and sexism date it somewhat, but it is fine as light entertainment, with danger, romance, and a "twist ending".
The... (more) 



The Mathenauts (1964) 
 Norman Kagan 

A hilarious story that plays with the mindblowing idea that it may not be that mathematics describes reality, but instead that reality is mathematics.
In the future presented by this story, only those... (more) 


Maths on a Plane (2008) 
 P T 

This story, about a student flirting with the attractive woman in the seat next to him on a plane, won the student category of the 2008 New Writers Award from Cambridge University's ``Plus+ Magazine''.... (more) 


A Matter of Mathematics (2005) 
 Tony Ballantyne 

A story about the attempt by the British to change the tilt of Earth's axis to create a more suitable environment for themselves and how the Americans foil it. The British have been launching incessant... (more) 


Maxwell's Equations (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

James Clerk Maxwell was the 19th century theoretician who discovered electromagnetic waves. He is often described as a "physicist", but I would argue that he was a mathematician. Certainly some of his... (more) 


The Memory of Whiteness (1985) 
 Kim Stanley Robinson 

Far in the future of the human race, the brilliant mathematician Holywelkin discovers a new physical theory that allows us to understand particle physics and build the amazing "whitsuns" which in turn... (more) 


Methuselah's Children (1958) 
 Robert A. Heinlein 

The supporting character of "Slipstick" Libby in this classic science fiction novel is a mathematician, or at least mathematically inclined. This has little to do with the novel's main plot, which concerns... (more) 


Midnight Diner (Episode: Omelette Rice) (2016) 
 Joji Matsuoka (Director)
/ Marina Oshima (Screenplay) 

Each episode of this Japanese TV series follows the stories of some patrons of a Tokyo diner that is only open from midnight to 7AM. "Omelette Rice" is a love story between two regulars who meet there... (more) 


The Monopole Affair (2003) 
 Ken Wharton 

This short story in the May 2003 issue of Analog by physicist
Wharton includes references to the role of higher dimensions in string
theory.
References to string theory, but much more about physics than math (which gets a passing mention).
(more) 


Mozart on Morphine (1989) 
 Gregory Benford 

A mathematician nearly loses his life to appendicitis. While
sedated in the hospital, he describes the loony stuff that flits through his
head, and how it relates to the subjective and personal processes... (more) 


Mrs. Einstein (1998) 
 Anna McGrail 

It's a wonderful novel that invents a history for Einstein's illegitimate daughter, about whom little is known. In the novel, she's a mathematician who becomes obsessed with her father's refusal to acknowledge... (more) 


Murder on the Einstein Express (2016) 
 Harun Šiljak 

An essay containing many interesting remarks and anecdotes about mathematics and mathematical physics presented in the form of a dialogue between a professor and students. Topics covered include entropy,... (more) 


The Music of the Spheres (2001) 
 Elizabeth Redfern 

A highly praised (a la Caleb Carr) historical thriller set in Europe in
1795, involving lots of astronomy. This includes Laplace musing over his
theorem that gravitational perturbations are bounded, and his wondering
if a similar theorem applies to history.
(more) 


N Day (1943) 
 Philip Latham 

An astronomer's observations of the sun lead him to predict the sun will go nova in just a few days. The formula that he used for his prediction is included explicitly. "Philip Latham" is
the pseudonym of Robert Shirley Richardson.
(more) 


Napier's Bones (2011) 
 Derryl Murphy 

In the fantasy/SF world of this novel, numerates are special people who are aware of the fact that numbers themselves are alive and can be coaxed or controlled into doing seemingly magical things for them.... (more) 


Newton's Hooke (2004) 
 David Pinner 

A play about Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke which presents "the dark side" of Newton. Emphasis is put on his egotism (not only does he think that he is incomparably brilliant, but he also seems to think... (more) 


Nice Girl with Five Husbands (1951) 
 Fritz Leiber 

A man is unwittingly swept by a time wind 100 years
into the future. He and the people he meets in the
futureincluding the nice girl of the titletalk
at cross purposes, but no one realizes... (more) 


No Chance (2001) 
 Guy Hasson 

While playing poker, a math professor and a biology professor discuss the manyworlds interpretation of quantum physics, with the mathematician offering what he sees as a mathematical argument proving... (more) 


Not a Chance (2009) 
 Peter Haff 

A student harangues his physics professor about the possibility that all mathematical proofs are incorrect. His argument is based on the supposed uncertainty about the validity of proofs of the Four Color... (more) 


Null Set (2019) 
 S.L. Huang 

Cas Russell, the mathgenius mercenary, returns in the sequel to Zero Sum Game. As before, she can perform calculations quickly and accurately enough to determine exactly how she needs to swing, kick,... (more) 


Numbers Don't Lie (2005) 
 Terry Bisson 

This novel is actually just a compilation of three Wilson Wu short stories ("The Hole in the Hole", "The Edge of the Universe" and "Get Me to the Church on Time") which were previously published in Asimov's... (more) 


Nuremberg Joys (2000) 
 Charles Sheffield 

A mathematician is on trial for war crimes, regarding
his role in developing an absolutely horrendous killing
weapon based on sophisticated new physics. Guilt or
... (more) 


The Object (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

This is a mathematical horror story, written by someone who doesn't like horror stories. Since I'm the author, I can honestly (and humbly) admit that the result is kind of weird.
The plot concerns... (more) 


Occam's Razor (1956) 
 David Duncan 

This story involves the concept of discontinuous time embedded in a sort of “MetaTime”. Essentially, Duncan proposes the idea that True Reality evolves along MetaTime which is broken up... (more) 




Oracle (2000) 
 Greg Egan 

The protagonist, Robert Stoney is a british mathematician who worked on German codes during WW II, was greatly affected by the death of a close friend, and was later persecuted for his homosexuality. ... (more) 


Our Feynman Who Art in Heaven... (2007) 
 Paul Di Filippo 

A religious cult based on the Standard Model (of high energy physics)
has its headquarters in a tesseract.
This story, which is certainly more physical than mathematical, appears in the "Plumage from Pegasus" column in the February 2007 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction and is available for free at their website.
(more) 


Ouroboros (1997) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

The question of whether what we call "reality" could be nothing other than a simulation run on a computer gets a mathematically sophisticated treatment in this story. In addition to a vague reference... (more) 


The Outside (2019) 
 Ada Hoffman 

The way this science fiction novel conflates technology and religion is more interesting than anything it does with mathematics. The "gods" in the book are advanced artificial intelligences and "angels"... (more) 


Paradox (2000) 
 John Meaney 

Young Tom Corcorigan seems to represent the lowest "caste" in the extremely hierarchical human society of the year 3404. However, his mathematical abilities (he is able to figure out a way around Gödel's... (more) 


Les Particules élémentaires [Elementary Particles] (1998) 
 Michel Houellebecq 

The following description is based on material sent to me by AnnieMichel Pajus (IREM PARIS 7) in French. Any error below is likely to be a mistake that I made in attempting to translate it.
This novel... (more) 


Permafrost (2019) 
 Alastair Reynolds 

The daughter of the mathematician whose research led to a practical method for timetravel is sent back in time to save the world in this creative science fiction novella.
Although I describe the work... (more) 



The Pexagon (2018) 
 D.J. Rozell 

A short story about math and physics grad students who, while drinking together at a bar, stumble upon the ability to draw a superposition of different polygons:
Eric looked both scared and excited.... (more) 


The Planck Dive (1998) 
 Greg Egan 

This short story describes a bizarre experiment in which researchers are cloned (quantum cloning, not the genetic kind; these researchers aren't "fleshers") and sent into a black hole. Their goal is to... (more) 


Planck Time (2004) 
 Michael Iwoleit 

The setting is 2036 to 2038. A 140km long linear collider ("Super Large Hadron Collider") has been installed at one of the L5 points in earth orbit. Some unknown technology must have been discovered... (more) 


Planck Zero (1992) 
 Stephen Baxter 

Baxter's hardSF ideas are often quite stunning in their scope and creativity. "Planck Zero" is no exception to this. An advanced species of aliens  the Ghosts  have started conducting experiments... (more) 


PreVision (1936) 
 John Pierce 

The story hangs its hat on a clever observation made long ago by many physicists, including Einstein, about the nature of solutions of Maxwell's equations. Since the equations are timesymmetric, they... (more) 


Primary Inversion (1996) 
 Catherine Asaro 

In this first book in her "Skolian Saga" series, Asaro explains how fasterthanlight speeds are attainable by using imaginary numbers, and hence frequent mentions of "imaginary space" occur throughout... (more) 


Problems for SelfStudy (2002) 
 Charles Yu 

The life of a mathematical physicist  from earning his PhD, through marriage, fatherhood and into a midlife crisis  presented in the form of homework exercises from a math book.
We first meet... (more) 


Professor and Colonel (1987) 
 Ruth Berman 

In this unusual story, we get to see another side to Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy, the brilliant but evil mathematician Professor Moriarty. Here, rather than perpetrating a crime, Moriarty is merely visiting with his brother, discussing the significance of his research into asteroid dynamics. (See also Asimov's take on this same subject.) (more) 


Properties of Light (2000) 
 Rebecca Goldstein 

This is a beautifully written novel about a theoretical physicist who
hates the daughter of a more senior physicist whose work he
admires. The real plot of the novel revolves around why he hates her,... (more) 


Psychohistorical Crisis (2001) 
 Donald Kingsbury 

In the far future, a group of "psychohistorians" controls the fate of humanity using the mathematical theory of "the founder" in this unauthorized "sequel" to Asimov's Foundation series. Kingsbury's lengthy... (more) 


Ratner's Star (1976) 
 Don DeLillo 

Billy Terwilliger (aka Twillig) is not your typical 14 year old boy.
True, he is beginning to get interested in sex and thinks that the
word "fart" is entertaining, but he is also a number theorist and... (more) 


Reality Conditions (2005) 
 Alex Kasman 

The title story in the collection of the same name, this short story follows a mathematics grad student to a workshop at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Although the story contains no supernatural... (more) 


Resolution (2006) 
 John Meaney 

This is the third and apparently final novel in the Nulapeiron sequence. In the first two we see Tom use his skills at fighting and mathematics (called "logosophy" in the book) as well as knowledge gained... (more) 


Ripples in the Dirac Sea (1988) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

A time machine story based on a combination of Hilbert's Hotel analogy and the "Fermi Sea". We read of the travels of the main character to the ancient past, to the San Francisco earthquake and to the... (more) 


River of Gods (2006) 
 Ian McDonald 

A science fiction novel about artificial intelligence, politics, cellular automata, climate change and alternate universes that takes place in India of 2047. Math plays only a very small role in this... (more) 


Robbins v. New York (2008) 
 Colin Adams 

The author of the Mathematical Intelligencer's "Mathematically Bent" column has a talent for making me laugh, and this piece which has the US Supreme Court justices debating higher math and modern physics... (more) 


The Sabre Squadron (1966) 
 Simon Raven 

Daniel Mond, a British PhD candidate in mathematics, finds himself in mortal danger after traveling to Göttingen in the 1950s to analyze papers by the deceased German mathematician Dortmund.
I had... (more) 


Sad Strains of a Gay Waltz (1997) 
 Irene Dische 

Like many other mathematicians in fiction (and in real life too?), the protagonist in this novel is brilliant when it comes to calculations but has difficulty with the most commonplace examples of human... (more) 



Schild's Ladder (2002) 
 Greg Egan 

Far in the future, the mathematical theory of "quantum graph theory" is the theory of
physics. Unlike the current theories of relativity and quantum physics,
which are obviously approximations that... (more) 


Schwarzschild Radius (1987) 
 Connie Willis 

Connie Willis' shortstory ``Schwarzschild Radius'' is based on events
in the life of Karl Schwarzschild, who gave the first exact solutions
to the equations of general relativity. The
historical aspects... (more) 


The Second Moon (1939) 
 Russell R. Winterbotham 

This is one wreckage of a story; bad pulp fiction written way back when. It does have one or two decent points for an alert reader, like the observation that the presence of complex numbers in physical... (more) 


Security (1953) 
 Poul Anderson 

A top secret project uses some mathematical physics to create a new material. As the title makes clear, the secrecy (and what the head of the project is willing to do to achieve it) is really the point... (more) 


A Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions (1991) 
 Kim Stanley Robinson 

This work of speculative fiction is not a traditional work of fiction with a plot and characters, but reads more like an essay about the chaotic nature of reality which includes some alternative histories... (more) 


Shaffery Among the Immortals (1972) 
 Frederik Pohl 

A funny yarn about one Jeremy Shaffery, an astronomer who idolizes Einstein and his methods and who wants to achieve immortal fame by doing something just as famous. The problem is that he is not built... (more) 


Singer Distance (2022) 
 Ethan Chatagnier 

At the beginning of this novel, MIT math grad student Crystal Singer and a group of her friends are on a road trip to Arizona where they plan to carve a giant message to the inhabitants of Mars. Singer... (more) 


Singleton (2002) 
 Greg Egan 

This story involves a physicist and a mathematician who have a child  well, sort of  that they have specially designed to remain in a "classical" state (as opposed to a quantum superposition of states)... (more) 


The Singularities (2022) 
 John Banville 

This ambitious novel may be the capstone to the body of work by the critically acclaimed Irish author John Banville. The closing words suggest that it is a finale to his career. And a clever plot conceit... (more) 


The Smithsonian Institution (1998) 
 Gore Vidal 

In the year 1939, a 13 year old orphan known only as "T." is recruited into a secret project to build a nuclear weapon
after he is recognized by his algebra teacher as a math genius. From that description,... (more) 


Snow (1998) 
 Geoffrey A. Landis 

An apparently schizophrenic, homeless woman sells her body to get herself and her infant off the street on a cold night. Only at the end of this extremely short story do we realize that the imaginary... (more) 


Space Bender (1928) 
 Edward Rementer 

This is another story which uses the convenient device of the fourth dimension for rapid spatial transport. This time, Prof. Jason Livermore is the one who disappears entirely from the face of the earth... (more) 


Spherical Harmonic (2001) 
 Catherine Asaro 

As a child, Dyhianna Selei created a transformation, just a mathematical construct, mapping the real world into an abstract space of "thoughts" (whatever that means) spanned by an infinite set of spherical... (more) 


Spherical Mirrors, plane murders (2017) 
 Tefcros Michaelides 

Essentially all I know about this book is that it is a murder mystery which combines the conquest of Cyprus by Richard the Lionheart during the Crusades with a puzzle of optics posed in Ibn alHaytham's... (more) 


The Square Root of Summer (2016) 
 Harriet Reuter Hapgood 

In this young adult novel, a mathematically inclined teenager who ignores the sad events she does not want to remember learns to deal with them by literally revisiting her past through wormholes.
There... (more) 


The Star (1897) 
 Herbert George Wells 

Although some of the science is a bit off  for example, the idea that the
rotation of planets has something to do with their ability to orbit the sun
or that the "star" formed by the collision of Neptune... (more) 


Starman Jones (1953) 
 Robert A. Heinlein 

These adventures of Max Jones, a boy who runs away from Ozark home and works his way up the ranks of a starship is a nice example of classical science fiction as well as being a bit mathematical.
The... (more) 


Straw Dogs (1971) 
 Sam Peckinpah (Director) 

Dustin Hoffman stars as an astrophysicist in this violent
Peckinpah film. Before the violence starts, Hoffman's wife plays a
trick on him by changing some signs (+/) in an equation he is working
with.... (more) 


Tau Zero (1970) 
 Poul Anderson 

Special relativity takes center stage in this classic sciencefiction
novel. So much so that the number tau, by which one must divide an
object's rest mass to determine its apparent mass when travelling... (more) 


The Theory of Everything (1991) 
 Lisa Grunwald 

Theoretical physicist Alexander Simon is on the verge of making a
mathematical discovery of tremendous importance. By collapsing the hidden
dimensions in string theory to a 2dimensional manifold, he... (more) 


The Three Body Problem (2004) 
 Catherine Shaw 

A cleverly titled novel that uses a historical mathematical contest
and several characters based on real mathematicians as the basis for a
murder mystery. Of special interest is the novel's presentation... (more) 


The ThreeBody Problem (2006) 
 Cixin Liu (author) / Ken Liu (translator) 

This creative "first contact" novel by a famous Chinese science fiction author won many awards, including the Hugo award.
Like much "hard SF", it is a work of fiction in which the ideas are at least... (more) 


The Time Ships (1995) 
 Stephen Baxter 

This sequel to H.G. Wells' classic "The Time Machine" updates the story with some quantum mechanics and general relativity that were not available to Wells in 1895.
Our narrator returns to the distant... (more) 


Timescape (1979) 
 Gregory Benford 

On the positive side, we have a clever idea that shows some of the flavor of
modern mathematical physics, some positive comments about mathematics and
mathematical namedropping, and even some mathematical... (more) 


Topsyturvy (Sans Dessus Dessous) (1889) 
 Jules Verne 

The members of the Gun Club want to use a giant cannon's recoil to change the Earth's rotation axis, so they can exploit the presumed coalfields at the North Pole. An unfortunate side effect is that... (more) 


Trajectory (2024) 
 Cambria Gordon 

Eleanor, a teenage girl from Philadelphia who has been hiding her impressive mathematical abilities, uses them to aid the military during WW II.
As with many works of fiction aimed at Young Adults,... (more) 


Turnabout (1955) 
 Gordon R. Dickson 

It's a story about a physics professor who is investigating a device that creates planar forcefields. In its first run, an explosion destroys the device and the physicist is trying to obtain an answer... (more) 


The Ultimate Crime (1976) 
 Isaac Asimov 

We all know that Sherlock Holmes' arch enemy was a mathematician,
right? (If not, check out Sherlock Holmes.)
In fact, his second famous paper was on the dynamics of an asteroid.
Now, you may ask,... (more) 


The Unknown Quantity (1933) 
 Hermann Broch 

"Here the main character is a
mathematician who learns, through love and tragedy, that the `unknown
quantity' of life resists mathematical formulation."
(more) 


Unlocked (2012) 
 Courtney Milan 

In this novella the heroine's mother is an amateur astronomer computing the orbit of a comet. She has no recognition from professional astronomers. She is invited by her fellow upper class ladies... (more) 




White Mars : or, the mind set free : a 21st Century Utopia (2000) 
 Brian Wilson Aldiss / Roger Penrose 

It's not everyday that a mathematician of Penrose's calibre is listed
as a coauthor on a science fiction novel. Although he is probably
best known to the general public for the Penrose Tiling (a set... (more) 


The Woman in Schrödinger's Wave Equations (2005) 
 Eugene Mirabelli 

The artist girlfriend of a grad student working in theoretical physics becomes interested in determining something about the mysterious woman with whom Erwin Schrödinger supposedly had an extramarital... (more) 


The World We Make (2022) 
 N. K. Jemisin 

Readers of the first novel in the series, The City We Became, have already met Padmini Prakash. She loves pure math and hates New York City, but due to familial pressures is preparing to be a Wall Street... (more) 


The Writing on the Wall (2005) 
 Steve Stanton 

When he was eight years old, David was visited by an image of his future self, causing him to write mathematical formulas on the wall. (Unfortunately, his parents paint over it before he has a chance... (more) 


Ylem (1994) 
 Eliot Fintushel 

Another Fintushel BigBangAndBack TotallyWeird adventure,
the plot concerns a business conflict in the helium market.
Somebody dickered with the primordial nucleosynthesis, and
... (more) 


Zero Sum Game (2018) 
 S.L. Huang 

Cas Russell is violent and amoral. She is also really good at math. Her understanding of physics and quick work with vectors allows her to do things like ricochet a tossed cell phone just right to knock... (more) 
