Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #6: The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh

Number of pages: 255

Most casual viewers of The Simpsons will not realise that its writers fill it up with a large number of obscure mathematical jokes. One thing that I did not realise until I read this book was that several of the writers have PhDs in mathematics and similar disciplines, and that many of them are very geeky with their mathematical knowledge.

Principally, this is a textbook about obscure mathematics, but it sets it within the context of the Simpsons, giving brief overviews of some episodes and where mathematics fits in. There are some obvious episodes covered, like "Bart the Genius", and "Treehouse of Horror VI", with its 3D animated sequence, while others are more surprising and are things that only a mathematics geek would be likely to know about.

Later in the book, there are also some commentaries on episodes of Matt Groening's Futurama, which features (in addition to Maths jokes), several secret codes that fans have managed to crack.

I overall found this book to be fascinating, and the fact that it was tied in with some of my favourite TV shows encouraged me to read it. I was engrossed by the explanation of the maths behind one of Futurama's most complex episodes, "The Prisoner of Benda", with its multiple body swaps.

I liked the fact that the material was presented in a way that was accessible to just about anyone, whatever their knowledge of Mathematics

Next book: Moriarty (Anthony Horowitz)
Tags: 1001 books to read before you die, academic, essays, recommended book, scholarly, television

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