Petits meurtes entre mathematiciens (Pythagorean Crimes in French)

Posted in Books, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , on July 16, 2017 by tefcros

I was happily surprised discovering this small video on You Tube. A teacher used my novel in a classroom. How exciting!

The video includes some wonderful pictures

Thanks to Sara Dostie!


Spherical Mirrors, plane murders

Posted in Books, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2017 by tefcros

New book

08 Σφαιρικά κάτοπτρα, επίπεδοι φόνοι

Spring 1191: In a commandeered mansion at Limassol, Cyprus, the newly wed king Richard, whom they have called the Lionheart, enjoys the fruit of his recent conquest of Cyprus. However, another war is raging in his surroundings. Intrigues, conspiracies, alliances forged and immediately broken; and to top it all off, a murder. The victim is the fiendish Laure, confidant of the queen mother Eleanor and concubine to her son. The main suspect is Dona Estephana, a doctor, once pupil of Averroes, attached to the newly wed Berengaria of Navarra.

Mid 1950s: An English Byzantine scholar, a French paleographer and a young Greek mathematician are urgently invited to Cyprus in order to evaluate a manuscript dating from the Third Crusade. It contains the solution to a difficult problem concerning spherical mirrors, stated by Ptolemy and solved by the Muslim scholar Alhazen. The manuscript also contains references to a murder. Things get more complicated when the three experts witness a second murder, eight hundred years after the original one…

Two interwoven stories, eight hundred years apart. Richard’s conquest of Cyprus during the Third Crusade and the 1955 – 1959 war of independence are bridged through the famous Kitab al Manazir (The book of optics), with its spherical mirrors problem. The solution to both mysteries can be found in this manuscript, provided one can read it properly!

APMEP in Marseille, France

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 8, 2013 by tefcros

Le Lundi, 21 Octobre, je vais participer au Souk des Maths dans le cadre des Journées Nationales de l’ APMEP (Association des Professeurs de Mathématiques de l’ Enseignement Public) qui auront lieux a Marseilles.2013-10-21 - APMEP Marseille

Symmetry and the Expatriate

Posted in Books, Fiction on July 16, 2013 by tefcros

Symmetry and the Expatriate - CoverThis is the story of an expatriate from Asia Minor, obsessed with symmetry, forced to leave his fatherland during the ethnic cleansing directed by the Turks in 1920 – 1922. He finds himself in Siena, Italy, where he meets with M.C. Escher, with whom he shares the interest in symmetry. In 1936 he is forced to flee again, due to his opposition to the fascist regime.

His next destination is Spain, where he becomes a member of the International Brigades defending the Spanish Republic. There he meets Rachel, a Jewish girl from Thessaloniki, the love of his life. He also meets Simone Weil, as well as the parents of Alexander Grothendieck, the most eminent and unconventional mathematician of the 20th century.

After the victory of Franco he flees once more, this time to France, where he is involved in the underground resistance against the Nazis and meets with the famous mathematicians of the Bourbaki group.

It is the story of a fictional hero as well as a chronicle of the 20th century.

Table of Contents

1. The Expatriate

2. Ex oriente lux

3. An exile’s paradise

4. The beetle

5. Al Andalus

6. No pasaran

7. Paris, ville ouverte

8. Interdit d’ interdire

9. … and the symmetry


The important thing is that the author dissolves the main aspect of positivism, that is, the mentality of strict sense and enriches it with many elements of sensibility. Of course, I am not referring to cheap melodrama but living, breathing setting of the scene that evokes emotion in moderation. This emotion stems from the tragic elements of the story and the harsh fate reserved for humans, seemingly so unfair when juxtaposed to the symmetrical justice of geometric shapes. (George Perantonakis, Efimerida Sintakton, 16 – 17 /2)

Tefcros Michaelides is back to mathematics literature. In his “Symmetry and the Expatriate” fiction mixes admirably with history. Places and eras mix equally well: Asia Minor, Italy between the two wars, Spain during the Civil War and France during the resistance. At the center of the story, the Bourbaki movement which used mathematical rationalism to understand everyday events. (Antaios Chrisostomides, Avgi, 23/12/2012)

Is symmetry understood in the same way by everybody, or at least by those who study mathematics. The graphic artist Escher and the mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck who share the interest for symmetry with the central hero of the novel understand it differently. The best way to understand it is of course to consider it as a game. Then following the ways to leave footprins on the sand you discover seven different ways to proceed: Hop, step, sidle, spinning hop, spinning sidle, jump, spinning jump. However, mathematical rationalism is not used in general at play but for much more serious reasons. One of these is to analyze the historical facts that determined the events of the 20th century. (Ilias Kanelis, The Books’ Journal, #26, December 2012).

He manages to keep the reader’s interest as the process of simultaneous examination of so different items as are mathematics, history and art as well as the viewpoint of each one of these separately create a peculiar suspense. The research for freedom at all levels in correlation with the purity of science open new paths in understanding things. Delicious and deprived of difficulties even to those with a bad relation with mathematics – including myself. (Titika Dimitroulia, Kathimerini, 10/02/2013).

The “Expatriate” of mathematician Michaelides is first of all a hymn to humanity and secondly only a “mathematics fiction”. It contains so many real facts that nobody will consider it as fiction. An the narrative recipe of the author is so ancient and so successful that no one will consider it as a “boring biography”. Michaelides immediately introduces us to the mood of the Socratic dialog teacher – student, reminding us of the valuable role of a mentor, so much neglected in our days. And then he uses another forgotten valuable ingredient, the dialog of friendship. He bases his story on a mathematical background that floods it. A background that would remain unnoticed to the reader but which, according to the author is strictly linked to the evolution of history. It is the eternal fight between symmetry and disorder, beauty and ugliness, goodness and violence, love and height rid. The book is not only extremely well written and cleverly structured but moreover it is a mirror to the generations that built the 20th century. ”. (Tasos Kafantaris, TO VIMA, 05/01/2013). The author manages to combine the square mathematical way of thinking to a tragic mood developing emotion and humanity (George Perantonakis, Book Press, 16/12/2012).

Pythagorean Crimes in French!

Posted in Books, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2012 by tefcros

Today , the French edition of the Pythagorean Crimes hits the shelves, titled Petits meurtres entre mathématiciens, by editor Le Pommier. This makes seven languages under the book’s belt (counting the original). Can’t say I don’t feel a little proud…

The Four Colors of Summer

Posted in Books, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2012 by tefcros

This is a relatively new book (2011) which has only been published in Greek by Polis Publishing. This here title is true to the original, “Τα Τέσσερα Χρώματα του Καλοκαιριού”.

This book is about three great love stories, as well as a “fringe” mathematical problem, all set on the backdrop of  a tumultuous 20th century. The story feels like a wheel, its spokes piercing Paris, Göttingen, and Athens, with its center set firmly on the island of Serifos, around which the events and the characters revolve. It is Serifos in its many forms, some little known and others known all too well: it’s the island of the first union strikes in 1916, the island condemned to a slow death after the mine closures of 1963, the island we know and love today, despite its being exploited without measure as a tourist destination.

A line of women from Serifos (grandmother, mother and daughter), each living their starcrossed love story, in the enigmatic shadow of a mathematical riddle; a riddle that, after frustrtaing some of the most notable mathematical geniuses for nearly a century, was solved in a most controversial way. Its solution shook the edifice of mathematics mightily, demanding that we reconsider what we even call a “solution”. Can we really trust results based on the data from a computer – which data we can never verify by hand in our own lifetimes? Does the term “proof” mean the same in the age of computers, as it did in the time of Euclides? Furthermore, how can such a problem affect the converging lifelines of a man and a woman, whose hearts were seemingly made to beat as one?

In my last two books (Pythagorean Crimes and Ahmes, the Moonchild, respectively) I attempted to mix mathematics with crime mystery and historical fiction (to what success, it is only for the readers to tell). This time around, it was love’s turn.


Lighter than usual, but with history always present, is the new novel by Tefcros Michaelides, The four colors of summer which takes us to Serifos during the first social struggles as well as to a curious mathematics puzzle, the “four colors problem”. Breathtaking, in a summer mood underlined by verses of popular songs which illustrate a love story that will remind you of summers of the past. An excellent escape from our morose reality. (Costas Stoforos, Dromos tis aristeras, 19/12/2011).

Tefcros Michaelides is one of the few that know how to combine mathematics and literature. In his last book three love affairs and a “marginal” mathematics problem are the building bricks of the novel’s setting. In his two previous books he had mixed mathematics with crime fiction and history novel. He now gives us the first love – mathematics fiction. . (Eleftherotipia, December 2011)

The author, himself a brilliant mathematician, manages perfectly not only to translate in everyday language some of the most difficult mathematical problems but also to use them in order to create charming stories that interest all of us. (Eleftherotipia, Spiros Manouselis, 11/12/2011).

Tefcros Michaelides has given us a strong story of love and mathematics. How strong? Note this: I took it with me on a trip to London. I started to read it during the flight and although the attractions of the British capital and my good company I was eager to return to my room and see what happened to the lovers. I finished it during the small hours. (Ioanna Souffleri, VIMA – SCIENCE, 20/11/2011).

2nd International Literary Festival at Tinos Island

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 26, 2011 by tefcros

From July 28 to July 30 I will be at the 2nd International Literary Festival at the Greek island of Tinos. If you are interested, there’s extensive information on planned events, guests and more, right here.