The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets

4.8 12
by Simon Singh
     
 

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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,

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
Higher math for dummies, courtesy of The Simpsons. Perhaps Simpsons nerds have known this all along, but for the rest of us who think of the TV show as primarily a sharp piece of comic writing, it may come as a surprise to learn that it is riddled with sophisticated mathematics, including rubber sheet geometry, the puzzle of Rubik's Cube, Fermat's last theorem ("embedded within a narrative that explores the complexities of higher-dimensional geometry"), Mersenne prime numbers and plenty of other obscure material. Often in the show, this will fly by as sight gags, but just as often it is faced head-on, as when Lisa tackles statistics or Homer ponders three dimensions. Singh (Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe, 2005, etc.) is a lively writer with an easy, unthreatening manner who takes readers smoothly through some fairly thorny mathematics. He also dives into the curious relationship between mathematics and comedy writers: It appears that most Simpsons writers graduated from Harvard with a degree in mathematics, and nearly all were on the staff of the Lampoon. Singh finds them possessed of a desire "to drip-feed morsels of mathematics into the subconscious minds of viewers." One of the show's writers put it simply: "The process of proving something has some similarity with the process of comedy writing, inasmuch as there's no guarantee you're going to get to your ending." The author includes plenty of solid, vest-pocket profiles of both the show's writers and great mathematicians of the past--e.g., Zu Chongzhi, Sophie Germain, Leonhard Euler--as well as a look at Matt Groening's Simpsons spawn, Futurama, a show about a futuristic delivery service with enough nerdy references to sink a spaceship. A fun trip with the "ultimate TV vehicle for pop culture mathematics."
From the Publisher

“Engaging (and educational) . . . Singh delves into the academic backgrounds of some of the most poindextrous Simpsons writers.” —Wired

“Mathematical concepts both useful and obscure explained via the antics of America's favorite yellow family!” —Mental Floss

“Plenty of solid, vest-pocket profiles of both the show's writers and great mathematicians of the past . . . A fun trip with the ‘ultimate TV vehicle for pop culture mathematics.'” —Kirkus Reviews

“Simon Singh's excellent book blows the lid off a decades-long conspiracy to secretly educate cartoon viewers.” —David X. Cohen, writer for The Simpsons and Futurama

“It's hard to imagine a grander, more thrilling story . . . fast-paced . . . hugely entertaining . . . Big Bang is, quite literally, cosmic.” —New York Times on Big Bang

“Singh spins tales of cryptic intrigue in every chapter.” —Wall Street Journal on The Code Book

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781620402771
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
10/29/2013
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
418,003
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

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Meet 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.

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The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a data analyst I really enjoyed this book. It was fun remembering the episodes as they were described in the book. I also enjoyed the chapter on Futurama. There is not a lot of new information about the show or its authors if you are an avid fan but fun anyway.
Skippy123 More than 1 year ago
Humorous and edifying.
Anonymous 8 months ago
This book is a great read for anyone who is a nerd, a Simpsons fan, or both! =)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spider pig. Spider pig. Does whatever a spider pig does. Can he swing. From a web. No he cant. Cause he's a pig. Look ouuuttt. He is a spider pig
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like the Simpsons OR math, you will enjoy this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I saw this book on a today deal I swooped it up and then bought a hard copy one for my son a math teacher. Who would of known when he was addicted to the Simpsons as a teen, he would learn math and become math teacher. He was thrilled to get the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found that this book did a great job of making complex mathematics accessible to everyone. I wish I had thid book in high school or even college. I think it would have had a good influence on my education. The Simpsons and Futurama are 2 of my favorite shows and now I have new information to watch it with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
U
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stupid