Parmenides Publishing


Titles By Patricia Curd

Pythagorean Crimes


280 pages
5 3/4 x 8 1/4 • Hardcover

280 pages
5 1/2 x 8 • Paperback

This book is also available in Greek, Italian and Spanish.

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Edward C. Halper
holds a PhD from Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris, and was awarded “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques” by the French Government. He is a Professor of Mathematics at Athens College, Greece. His published works include Mathimatika Epikera (A Mathematician’s View of Everyday Events), and numerous original studies on the role of mathematics in literature from antiquity to the modern era, and from Chinese texts to the newest science-fiction works. He has also translated many books into Greek, including A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, the widely acclaimed and successful The Parrot’s Theorem by Denis Guedj, Timescape by Gregory Benford, and D’Alembert’s Principle and Mobius Dick by Andrew Crumey.

Set in an era witness to some of the most avant-garde and scintillating scientific discoveries and artistic creations of the last century, this novel takes readers behind the scenes and into the lives of many of history’s most fascinating and revolutionary minds, all while posing the question—could a mathematical discovery be so controversial and threatening as to drive one to kill?

After the murder of his best friend lands Michael Igerinos in the center of the investigation as the prime suspect, he is transported back to the turn of the 20th Century, into the heart of Bohemian Paris and the sensual, hedonistic pursuits of the artists who haunted its infamous Moulin Rouge. There they are privy to the tormented genius of Toulouse-Lautrec, the twisted, visceral perspective of a young Picasso, and the wild exploits of les artistes de Montmartre.

Michael and Stefanos meet at the groundbreaking Second International Congress of Mathematics in 1900, at which the greatest mathematical minds of the 20th Century—Hilbert, Poincaré, Bertrand Russell, Gödel—probed the depths of mathematical mystery and challenged the very foundations on which all of mathematical theory is based.

Their mutual passion for uncovering the deepest, most elusive secrets of the universe unites them and their search for mathematical discovery draws them down a dark path whose tragic end neither man could possibly foresee.

  Arizona Book Publishing Association Awards
- Winner "Best Cover Design"
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The discovery of the incommensurability of the diagonal and side of the square supposedly shook the foundations of Pythagorean philosophy, the implications being so serious that the closed circle of Pythagoreans were sworn to silence (though David Fowler could find no evidence to support this oft repeated story: see The mathematics of Plato's academy, second edition, 1999). Michael Igerinos, the hero of Pythagorean crimes, in a statement to the police, repeats the even more colourful story that, according to tradition, it was Hippassus of Metapontum who dared to expose this dreadful secret of irrational numbers and was murdered for his impiety. 'It was the first Pythagorean crime in history' adds Igerinos. Tefcros Michaelides uses the Hippassus story as a leitmotif for his own tale of a mathematical crime. Could there be another discovery in mathematics so dreadful as to warrant a murder in order to preserve the character and purity of mathematical endeavour?
(click here for the entire article)
—Chris Weeks
BSHM Bulletin

"The more you know about mathematics and its history, the more you will enjoy this book. Famous mathematical names and developments pop up all over the place, with many a digression to discuss the mathematical ideas involved. Even if you don’t recognize the names, you will be able to follow the mathematical digressions."
(click here for the entire article)
—Dan Kalman
as reviewed in Math Horizons

"A fun, interesting read. I especially enjoyed the encounters between the mathematicians and artists in Montmartre cabarets. The book is timely given the recent proof (in 2006) of the Poincaré conjecture. Henri Poincare was one of the leading mathematicians at the Paris International Congress of Mathematicians in 1900 where the novel opens. Four years later he made his famous conjecture which then became one of the million dollar millennium problems in 2000. I recommend Pythagorean Crimes to anyone interested in the history of mathematics."

—Mark Ryan
The Math Center, Chicago Illinois
Calculus For Dummies and Geometry for Dummies

There are many different ways in which mathematics can show up in a work of fiction. The author could have conceived of an interesting, but entirely fictional, mathematical result that advances the plot—such as the hidden message in the decimal expansion of the number π from Carl Sagan’s novel Contact. (continue)
—Alex Kasman
AMS Notices

"Pythagorean Crimes is a masterly-told story of romance, art, history, political intrigue, and mathematics, all woven together in a thriller that will be sure to captivate you from the first page to the last."

—Eli Maor, Ph.D.
Loyola University, Chicago
The Pythagorean Theorem: a 4,000-Year History and To Infinity and Beyond: A Cultural History of the Infinite

"Amid the growing craze for novels featuring scientists or mathematicians, it is a delight to read a work by an author who not only has a genuine love of the subject but also a deep understanding of it. In these pages we meet some of the greatest figures of twentieth-century mathematics, assembled for the historic Paris congress at which David Hilbert proposed a famous list of problems, some of which are still unsolved.

Like Denis Guedj’s the Parrot’s Theorem, or Apostolos Doxiadis’s Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture, this book couches mathematical ideas in narrative form, offering the reader what amounts to a brief history of the subject. But it also shows a wealth of historical research, even having room for appearances by Picasso and Apollinaire, as it takes us from the rarefied atmosphere of the seminar room to the haunts of the Parisian demimonde."

—Dr. Andrew Crumey
University of Newcastle upon Tyne Author of Mobius Dick, Mr. Mee and Music, in a Foreign Language

"Tefcros Michaelides sets his mystery of the murder of a Greek mathematics high-school teacher against the backdrop of the history of early modernism and the great philosophical questions at the heart of modern mathematics. It’s a delightful synthesis, at once great fun to read and insightful, giving  a rare side view of the cultural significance of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem."

—Apostolos Doxiadis
 Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture

"Pythagorean Crimes is a thriller of the mind. It's the thinking-person's answer to the Da Vinci Code.

This novel gives a glimpse into the intellectually-charged atmosphere of early 20th century Europe. You're drawn into the characters' devotion to their work, and you wish you were sitting at the next table at the cafe, overhearing their conversations.

Not content to just explore the personalities behind the intellectual developments of the 19th and 20th centuries, this novel makes the scholars' mathematical work as compelling as any of the characters.

Few people associate mathematics and the sciences with the bustling social scene led by Picasso and his colleagues. Tefcros Michaelides breaks the stereotypes about mathematicians and their work as he spins a compelling tale about the greatest minds of 100 years ago and their passions for their work.

This novel gives us a glimpse of what it was like to be an eager, young, and up-and-coming scholar during a time where intellectual pursuits were ripe for the picking.

Pythagorean Crimes shares what it's like to have a single-minded focus on a mathematical problem. This novel transports the reader (even one with no mathematical background) into a world where the pursuit of mathematical truth is an all-consuming force."

—Dr. Amy Szczepanski
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pre-Algebra

"Pythagorean Crimes is a complex murder mystery with a well developed plot and characters.  As a bonus—and integral part of the story—it presents an accurate picture of the historical events in Greece and of Greek society in the early twentieth century as well as an eminently readable account of the revolution in mathematics that was taking place in that period and the passions it aroused."

—Richard D. McKirahan Jr.
Pomona College
Edwin Clarence Norton Professor of Classics

Pythagorean Crimes is full of originality and narrative ease; it is a book one can read easily and enjoyably in one sitting. I strongly recommend it especially to those who don’t understand a word of mathematics.”
—Vangelis Hadjivassiliou
BIBLIOTEKE Special Edition

“ . . . a most brilliant, captivating novel, masterfully integrating suspense with mathematical science, within the atmosphere of times past, and with a taste of Pythagorean mysticism. An excellent example of how mathematics and literature may be combined.”
—Helena Houzouri

“The plot itself makes the novel original and fascinating to read.”
—Dimitris Hassapis

“Tefcros Michaelides passionately yet humbly serves the marriage between mathematics and literature, seeking possible connections between two apparently disparate subjects.”
—George N. Perantonakis