Considering when Math and Stories Mix

John Allen Paulos in his monthly column at ABC News:

BigjapAt first glance (and maybe the second one too), narrative and mathematics don’t seem to be natural companions, but recent years have made the juxtaposition much more common.

There have, for example, been many biographies about mathematicians ranging from Sylvia Nasar’s “A Beautiful Mind” about John Nash to Rebecca Goldstein’s just released “Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Godel”…

There’s even a new television murder mystery show, “Numb3rs,” featuring a crime-solving mathematician. (This latter reminds me of a joke that generally appeals only to mathematicians: How do you spell Henry? Answer. Hen3ry. The 3 is silent.) And these just scratch the surface. Countless — well, not really, you can count them — narrative renderings of things mathematical have poured forth in recent years…

With all this ferment it’s perhaps not surprising that the phenomenon has attracted academic interest. Scheduled for July 12-15 in Mykonos, Greece, an international conference on Mathematics and Narrative will explore the interplay between these two seemingly disparate ways of viewing the world.

More here.