Dinner at Hilbert’s

Thursday, 20 March 2008

That’s the title for a crime novel that flashed into my mind as I was in town this morning, hunkered down against a dank, bitter wind. Based on Hilbert’s Hotel – you may know of that establishment which can accommodate any number of guests, however full it is.

There’s a gap in the market, methinks, for a series of crime novels with a mathematical theme, and an opportunity for some popular fiction that takes the geeky image out of maths. Unless you know different? If you know of any good fiction with a mathematical theme (Through the Looking Glass aside) then do let me know. It’s bloody hard to find any non-fiction books about mathematics that aren’t either arid and impenetrable or rather patronising. If you can recommend any of those I’d be grateful too.

This all springs from the discussion in Another Place, springing from the death of Arthur C Clarke, and finding time to reflect that even the barest mention of maths on my radio staple, R4, is likely to be treated by presenters with a rather smug “gosh, aren’t these people weird and not at all like us.”

Not that I haven’t struggled myself with maths over the years. But I can see the beauty which underlies it, and every now and then I have a go at getting to grips with it.

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One Response to “Dinner at Hilbert’s”

  1. neil h Says:

    Off the top of my head, The Phantom Tollbooth is pretty good at explaining mathematical concepts, and Piers Anthony’s Omnivore/Orn/0X trilogy deals with things like fractal geometry and Conway’s Life simulation.


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