The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets
By Simon Singh
(Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Hardcover, 9781620402771, 253pp.)
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
List Price: $26.00*
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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 fan’s 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.
Author Simon Singh's new book teases out the mathematical references hidden in The Simpsons. Singh tells NPR's Scott Simon that the show's writing team includes several trained mathematicians â�� and that the logical bends and breaks of writing comedy can be very appealing to the mathematically minded. More at NPR.org
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