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.

Ahmes, the Moonchild

Posted in Books, Fiction with tags , , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by tefcros

First off, I must stress that this book is still only in Greek and the aforementioned is my own translation of the original title, “Αχμές, ο Γιός του Φεγγαριού”) by Polis Publishing.

It is a purely fictional account of the life of Ahmes, the first Mathematician in history to be known by name, having signed the famous Rhind Scroll (named after the Scottish archaeologist who found it, Henry Rhind), a collection of 84 solved mathematical problems, sometime around 1600 BC.

Besides giving a plausible account of how, why and when Ahmes compiled the scroll containing the sum of mathematical knowledge of his time, the book tells the colorful tale of how he was found by Pianki, one of the Royal Hunters, how he was raised by him and his beautiful wife, Tadinanefer, as well as of his friendship with orphaned Amanthys, a Minoan boy whom the evil whims of merciless pirates, through the merciful winds of fate, landed in Egypt. More than that, it’s the account of his journey through life, towards an accomplishment that will seem monumental more than two-score centuries later, preserved by one pale, sickly man.

I would not say more. The book is an adventure on two levels: on one hand, it’s the life adventure of two friends who survived and were brought together by providence and on the other, the adventure of learning, discovery and knowledge.

Although the book is in Greek, I hope that it will be successful enough to be translated in English, like Pythagorean Crimes was.


Mathematics literature, fictional biography or historic novel, with real and fictional characters, this novel of Tefcros Michaelides combining literature mathematics, evolution and history will fascinate even those who do not enjoy numbers. (Dimitra Rouboula, Ethnos, 10/04/2010)

Ahmes, Son of the Moon, is his second novel. However Tefcros Michaelides has already got his personal audience who raised this book also in the bestselling lists. His CV is rich. He is very active in the area of secondary education where he teaches mathematics, he has translated many literary and scientific books and he is active in the Thales and Friends organization which supports dozens of reading clubs in Greek schools. (Olga Sella, Kathimerini, 07/03/2010)

Mathematics literature is winning more and more readers in Greece. The sales figures seem unreal in a country that doesn’t read much. A pioneer in this genre, Tefcros Michaelides, in his new book, Ahmes, Son of the Moon, turns our interest towards pharaohs, papyri, mathematics and pyramids in Egypt of 1700 – 1500 BC. Tefcros Michaelides who serves faithfully mathematics literature has done here a jump in time, renewing his supporting material. Whereas in his first novel, the very popular Pythagorean Crimes, he mainly used a crime fiction in order to expose the mathematical part of his story, he has now built a historic novel opening a new path: in mathematics literature mixing of genres is prolific: the resulting book may be astonishingly breathtaking. (Manolis Pimblis, Ta Nea, 06/02/2010)

This book is extremely interesting not only to the specialists but to all those interested in combination of mathematics and literature, history and human progress. (George Perantonakis, Diavazo, February 2010)

A charming historic – mathematical novel. Ahmes is an extremely interesting figure both from a mathematical and a historic point of view. (Eleftherotipia, 12/12/2009)

The reader of this quality publication will soon discover that Ahmes is written with the fever of a crime fiction by Ian Rankin. The rhythm will immediately win you and trap you in the action. However the true magic of the text will follow: the author manages to inject in the plot thousands of information items, concerning the everyday life of Egypt (just … 3600 years ago) without allowing even one moment of boredom. And then you have this incredible ability of the author to implant mathematics in the plot so naturally that it makes you concede that “seeing the vine is seeing the grapes”. (Tasos Kafantaris, To VIMA, 06/12/2009)

Pythagorean Crimes

Posted in Books, Fiction with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2010 by tefcros

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 Montmarte.

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.

So far, Pythagorean Crimes has been translated (from the original Greek version), aside from English, in Italian and Spanish and is currently being translated in French, Chinese and Korean. You can click on the various edition covers on the sidebar, to see the full-size pictures. You can also check the official site of Parmenides Press for more information, commentary and more.