Synopses & Reviews
Simon Singh, author of the bestsellers Fermat's Enigma, The Code Book,
and The Big Bang,
offers fascinating new insights into the celebrated television series The Simpsons
: That the show drip-feeds morsels of number theory into the minds of its viewers — indeed, that there are so many mathematical references in the show, and in its sister program, Futurama,
that they could form the basis of an entire university course.
Recounting memorable episodes from “Bart the Genius” to “Homer3,” Singh brings alive intriguing and meaningful mathematical concepts — ranging from the mathematics of pi and the paradox of infinity to the origin of numbers and the most profound outstanding problems that haunt today's generation of mathematicians. In the process, he illuminates key moments in the history of mathematics, and introduces us to The Simpsons brilliant writing team — the likes of David X. Cohen, Al Jean, Jeff Westbrook, and Stewart Burns, all of whom have various advanced degrees in mathematics, physics, and other sciences.
Based on interviews with the writers of The Simpsons and replete with images from the shows, facsimiles of scripts, paintings and drawings, and other imagery, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets will give anyone who reads it an entirely new insight into the most successful show in television history.
Those of us who have been paying attention have long been aware ofthe strong mathematical presence inThe Simpsons, including in-jokes both on that show and the other show from the same creativeteam--Futurama. Now here is a book, from a physicist and the author of wonderful Fermat's Enigma and The Code Book, that brings togetherall the jokes, background fills and mathematical themes from the show under one cover--and we can be forgiven for not realizing howmuch we have missed. From Lisa Simpson's statistical efforts, to the meditations on the number of dimensions, the essence of pi, toinfinities and six degrees of separation, including the ever-present problem of the number of fingers and toes of the show's charactersand their incongruousness with the decimal system they still use--it is all here. A section on the mathematical jokes of Futurama isincluded, and an analysis of what really constitutes successful mathematical humor is present, and it is all written in a wonderfullyentertaining style, and is often quite hilarious itself. One of the funniest and smartest animation shows is treated here in a smart and funny way.Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
The brainy new book by the bestselling author of Fermat's Enigma — a must for anyone interested in numbers and mathematics as well as for the millions of Simpsons fans worldwide.
You may have watched hundreds of episodes of The Simpsons
(and its sister show Futurama
) without ever realizing that cleverly embedded in many plots are subtle references to mathematics, ranging from well-known equations to cutting-edge theorems and conjectures. That they exist, Simon Singh reveals, underscores the brilliance of the shows writers, many of whom have advanced degrees in mathematics in addition to their unparalleled sense of humor.
While recounting memorable episodes such as “Bart the Genius” and “Homer3,” Singh weaves in mathematical stories that explore everything from p to Mersenne primes, Euler's equation to the unsolved riddle of P v. NP; from perfect numbers to narcissistic numbers, infinity to even bigger infinities, and much more. Along the way, Singh meets members of The Simpsons brilliant writing team — among them David X. Cohen, Al Jean, Jeff Westbrook, and Mike Reiss — whose love of arcane mathematics becomes clear as they reveal the stories behind the episodes.
With wit and clarity, displaying a true fans zeal, and replete with images from the shows, photographs of the writers, and diagrams and proofs, The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets offers an entirely new insight into the most successful show in television history.
About the Author
Simon Singh received his Ph.D. in particle physics from the University of Cambridge. A former BBC producer, he directed the BAFTA Award-winning documentary Fermat's Last Theorem and wrote Fermat's Enigma, the bestselling book on the same subject. His bestseller The Code Book was the basis for the Channel 4 series The Science of Secrecy. His third book, Big Bang, was also a bestseller, and Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine, written with Edzard Ernst, gained widespread attention. Singh lives in London.