Sunday, June 13, 2010

Division By Zero - Ted Chiang

Short Story

Number of words : 5500
Percent of complex words : 13.1
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 12.5


Fog : 10.3
Flesch : 63.4
Flesch-Kincaid : 7.5


Renee Norwood

A mathematics prodigy and professor, and attempter of suicide.

Carl Norwood

A fellow patient of experience and her husband.

Mrs Rivas

Ward manipulator.

Bertrand Russell and Alfred Whitehead

Wrote the Principia Mathematica.

Von Neumann

A mathematician.


Carl met her in hospital.

Peter Fabrisi

Colleague of Renee's.

David Hilbert

A mathematician.


A Berkeley mathematician Renee consults with.

Kurt Godel

A mathematician. Demonstrated two theorems in 1931.

Gerhard Gentzen

Provided a proof of the consistency of arithmetic.

Marlene and Anne

Carl's friends.


Principia Mathematica

Treatise on the subject.

Marine Biology

A scientific journal.


Second International Congress of Mathematics in 1900

Conference on the same. David Hilbert listed what he considered to be the twenty-three most important unsolved problems of mathematics.



City in Scotland.


Renee and Carl are married suicide survivors. Renee is also a genius mathematician. It seems she has proved arithmetic is inconsistent. Her colleagues and peers have found no holes in her work. This is not doing good things for her mental state.

Carl has found he no longer loves this Renee, but is torn whether to tell her or not in the midst of this crisis.

4 out of 5

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