- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (October 29, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1620402777
- ISBN-13: 978-1620402771
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 136 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #516,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets Hardcover – October 29, 2013
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“Highly entertaining.” ―Amir Alexendar, New York Times
“Mathematical concepts both useful and obscure explained via the antics of America's favorite yellow family!” ―Mental Floss
“The clarity of his explanations is impressive, and there are some illuminating interviews with Simpsonswriters…this is a valuable, entertaining book that, above all, celebrates a supremely funny, sophisticated show.” ―Financial Times
“What have Homer and Bart got to do with Euler's equation, the googolplex or the topology of doughnuts? The writers of The Simpsons have slipped a multitude of mathematical references into the show. Simon Singh has fun weaving great mathematics stories around our favourite TV characters.” ―New Scientist
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.
Top customer reviews
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The book devotes quite a lot of its pages to explaining mathematical concepts. And not nearly enough citing examples from the show. So what you end up with is a book that is only really interesting to those that have at least a basic understanding of mathematics, but aren't interested enough to have pursued math at a high level.
Overall the book doesn't really cite that many examples of math from the TV series. Much more time is spent explaining the concepts behind it. And it also spends a considerable amount of time talking about Futurama rather than the Simpsons, so its name is a little bit deceptive. Based on the name you'd almost assume that there are countless examples of math showing up in the show, but there really aren't that many. For every 5 pages of explanation, you get maybe a paragraph or two citing an example.
So if you get this book, go into it knowing that you probably won't see as many references to the show as you'd like, and be prepared to wade through long descriptions of the principles cited.
I only have one oddball comment to make on the text at Kindle location 3149. It is in one of the chapters on <i>Futurama</i>. Singh writes: “One of the Professor’s [Philo T. Farnsworth] oddest inventions is the Cool-O-Meter, which accurately assesses the level of cool possessed by a person . . .” This reminds me of a time when I was in a mental hospital for major depression along time ago. This other patient (of which I do not remember his name) and I would act as cool police. We would observe other patients and staff to see if they did any uncool acts. And, of course, sometimes we would call each other on our own uncool acts.
I thought the book was rather interesting. I have watch the <i>Simpson’s</i> from time to time and never caught any mathematics appearing in the episodes I watched. So, in a way the book was an eye-opener. I was also amused at some of the mathematical jokes. One of my favorite chapters was on six degrees of separation, which is about the connectedness of people to each other. Research has shown that in some cases we are only six people away from knowing a complete stranger. Duncan Watt did an experiment where he had people get in contact with persons not known by them (complete strangers), and the average number of contacts to be made was six, hence six degrees of separation. In this chapter they explained the Erdos number. Paul Erdos was a Hungarian mathematician that was famous for collaborating with other mathematicians. The Erdos number was one if the mathematician coauthored a paper with Erdos himself. A Erdos number of two was assigned if a mathematician coauthored a paper with another who coauthored a paper with Erdos, and so on down the line. Erdos himself has an Erdos number of zero. Another favorite chapter was on the misquoted of the Pythagorean theorem by the Scarecrow in <i>The Wizard of Oz</I>, which also was feature in one of the <i>Simpson’s</i> episodes.
I would recommend this book for any one interested in mathematics and its use in humor, or is a fan of the show. Not interested in mathematics or the show I would say do not bother with the book.