16 June 2008

Novelists who are mathematicians

Professor Finds the Art in Both Numbers and Letters -- a New York Times interview with Manil Suri, mathematician and novelist. I believe a copy of his first novel, The Death of Vishnu, is somewhere in my parents' basement; I remember enjoying it.

Another mathematician-novelist is Jordan Ellenberg, who has a blog.

Perhaps relevant here is Alex Kasman's mathematical fiction webpage, although this is a list of fiction about mathematics or mathematicians, not by mathematicians. Did you know Tolstoy wrote in War and Peace about history as the integral of the actions of individuals. (I didn't, because I haven't read War and Peace, because it's Really Long.)

On a related note, Ellenberg's blog is, as of right now, a year plus two days old. Mine is a year minus two days.


AgainstWords said...

Christos Papadimitriou is another mathematician who is also a novelist, having written the novel Turing. I understand that he is also collaborating on a graphic novel about the logical foundations crisis of the turn of the 20th century.

(More precisely, Christos Papadimitriou is a theoretical computer scientist: however, it seems to me that having "the proving of theorems" as a primary professional concern is a sufficient condition to be a mathematician.)

misha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Valentine said...

In high school I was a very bad planner, and had essentially forgotten to read War and Peace until just a few days before a test on it.
So I skimmed like I'd never skimmed before, until I got to the part about infinitesimals (ch 8 or 18 I think) which I found fun.

The test turned out to be in essey-form and I could use that chapter as a subject :), it all turned out good for me.

Ofcourse, now in retrospect I feel awful about the rest of the class having read the whole thing and essentially getting the same grade as I.

Anonymous said...

eric temple bell
(a math'n who *was* an novelist).
i've never read, or even seen,
any of his novels, but i've practically
worn out a couple of his history books
(_men_of_..._ and _the_development_...).
never seen reid's book either ...
you get the idea i need to get
to the library more often?

misha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
misha said...

Valentine, don't feel bad, Tolstoy is a lousy writer, he is too wordy, most of his charcters are like puppets to illustrate his ideas that are rather dull, there is no linguistic nuance in their speech, he's just not worth wasting time on.

Anonymous said...

From "The death of Ivan Ilyich"

There was only one bright spot back at the beginning of life; after that things grew blacker and blacker, moved faster and faster.

"In inverse ratio to the square of the distance from death," thought Ivan Ilyich.

vishvAs vAsuki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pseudonym said...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Lewis Carrol.

r. r. vlorbik said...

oh, and happy birthday, btw.

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