Which Robot?

Mathematics pops up in fiction novels a lot. In fact some books use mathematics as the central theme.

The website “Mathematical Fiction” compiled by Alex Kasman, has a list of 742 books, which can be ordered chronologically, or by title or author.

One of my favourite authors is Isaac Asimov. Both the Foundation and Robot series are well worth reading.

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

Image from sffaudio.com

Image from sffaudio.com

‘The first [Foundation] story is set on Trantor, the capital planet of the 12,000-year-old Galactic Empire. Whilst the empire gives the appearance of stability, beneath this facade it is suffering a slow decay. The main character, Hari Seldon, a mathematician, has developed psychohistory which equates all possibilities in large societies to mathematics, allowing predictable long term outcomes.’ (Ref: Wikipedia)

In chapter 4 of “The Naked Sun” (©1957 Robot series),  their are so many robots that a system for identifying each robot is needed. An arm patch on each robot can be either 3 letters followed by 4 numerals, or a checker board pattern consisting of a 6 x 6 square. Each of the 36 small squares is coloured either silver or gold.


With each of these patterns, how many different patches are possible?

Do you have examples of Mathematics from fiction novels to share?


About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
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One Response to Which Robot?

  1. mathspig says:

    This is great stuff. It’s maths that is fun, fun…fun!
    I am sooo pleased to have found your webmaths blog. mathspig

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