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The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets Paperback – 25 Sep 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (25 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408842815
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408842812
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Simon Singh is a science journalist and TV producer. Having completed his PhD at Cambridge he worked from 1991 to 1997 at the BBC producing Tomorrow's World and co-directing the BAFTA award-winning documentary Fermat's Last Theorem for the Horizon series. He is the author of Fermat's Last Theorem, which was a no 1 bestseller in Britain and translated into 22 languages. In 1999, he wrote The Code Book which was also an international bestseller and the basis for the Channel 4 series The Science of Secrecy.

Product Description

Review

Singh blows the lid off a decades-long conspiracy to secretly educate cartoon viewers (David X Cohen, writer for The Simpsons and Futurama)

An entertaining picture of the insanely high-minded nature of the Simpsons' writers (Sunday Times)

Singh shows a knack for gliding seamlessly between abstract mathematical concepts and every day life, always seeking out the most engaging, human and topical examples. Singh's clean prose, detailed research and enthusiasm for the world of numbers are likely to captivate even those for whom maths normally creates feelings of anxiety rather than mirth (The Times)

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? ... Simon Singh has fun weaving great mathematics stories around our favourite TV characters (New Scientist)

Singh shows just how addictive maths can be (BBC Focus)

Book Description

From bestselling author of Fermat's Last Theorem, a must-have for number lovers and Simpsons fans

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By GVI Gary on 18 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like Simon Singh. I love Maths. I love The Simpsons.
For a while, this is an interesting and engaging idea, but sadly he just didn't have enough material for a whole book. I don't mind that Singh branches off into Futurama - it's from the same stable, that's fair enough, but I do mind the repetition. You know those TV programs (usually reality or makeover shows) where they start off by showing you clips of what they're about to so, then about every 10 minutes they show you what they've just done. or what's coming up? It's a bit like that.
There's good stuff here, but stretched too thin, and it starts to grate.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By GreyFod on 7 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I have not been a Simpsons fan, watched not more than half a dozen, I found this book a really good read. It is not so much about the programme, but about the mathematics and mathematicians involved. If you don't feel the beauty of mathematics, then it won't be for you. If you do, then it will be very enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Aaron D. Boardley on 13 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover
As a lifelong Simpsons fan with a degree in maths this looked ideal to me, and I must cofess to reading it very quickly as it was thoroughly enjoyed. However, as fascinating as the maths was, I found the Simpsons links rather tenuous in many ways. A single reference in some episode or other would spawn a whole chapter on a mathematical concept without further reference back to the episode. Although Singh has attempted to make the maths simple I don't think I would have understood/enjoyed it had I not studied maths in university.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jet Lagged on 13 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is Simon Singh's latest book. Previous offerings include "Fermat's Last Theorem" and "The Code Book".

Many may be quite surprised to discover that there lies embedded in The Simpsons cartoon series a chunk-full of mathematics. What is not generally known is that several of the writers on The Simpsons are in fact respectable mathematicians. These writers have been, covertly or otherwise, smuggling maths into the episodes since the very beginning of the series. It's all been part of the fun. It doesn't interfere with the plot but it is mathematically amusing.

Now somebody, author Simon Singh, has spilt the beans. Singh took the trouble of going to L.A. to meet with the show's writers for this, his latest book. He found a writing team dedicated to inserting funny mathematical gags in the Simpsons' episodes. He then joined all the dots of this phenomenon and put it all together here for the reader.

Typically, he takes an episode of the Simpsons and locates any maths in it. Then he fleshes it out by giving the background to the maths mentioned therein. And he talks about the specific writers who came up with the idea. And what their mathematical interests are.

He also writes about the Futurama series. The same writers who have worked on The Simpsons have also worked on its sister series too.

Two mathematical examples will suffice:-

1. As early as the second episode of the first season, "Bart the Genius", a mathematical joke is featured involving the derivative of (y^3 )/3, where the "^" symbol stands for "to the power of" (You will have to get in touch with your inner geek to fully appreciate the joke.) Also in this episode Maggie amusingly makes E=Mc^2 with her pile of play bricks.

2.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Susie Robertson on 24 Feb. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliantly written and a must-have for any Simpsons fan! Easy to dip in and out of and it really gives you an insight into the fascinating world of Maths. Some really funny jokes and some really interesting facts. The stuff about infinity is especially interesting!

Great for all ages! My Son is especially enjoying it as he is studying A-Level Maths and a lot of it he is learning in Maths. He says it's great! 100% recommended!
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By Deepak on 7 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is well written and, apart from explaining the maths, also gives insight into the authors of The Simpsons. I haven't been a Simpsons fan but I might take to watching them now. Whether I'll spot the clever maths references, well I doubt that as many appear to be at post-graduate level of maths. Simon Singh does explain the maths well (what the maths did in real life) but even then I found some difficult to understand. So, in some ways, a heavy read. Something I would read a chapter or two then read something lighter before returning to it.
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By Stephen on 27 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another well written book by Simon Singh. Fun, clearly written and well explained background to the jokes incorporated into the episodes. Well worth a read.
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By D. Thompson on 26 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this for some light reading during a trip to darkest Finland, and finished it in 3 days; filled with humour and fascinating insights into the creative process behind the Simpsons, it also contained a huge and varied amount of quite challenging maths - who knew that there are different types of infinity, some of which are bigger than others!
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