Monday, October 7, 2013
Singh, Simpsons, and Smuggling Math
I suppose writing a book about the most popular animated series (and one of the most long-running TV shows) of all time is a good way to insure a best-seller, and if the publicity surrounding physicist/writer Simon Singh's latest book is any indication, he has accomplished that. Another wonderful piece on Singh and his latest volume, "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets":
The book is readily available in the UK, but I haven't personally seen it in a US bookstore yet, though I'm sure it won't be long, and of course is available for order online.
According to the article, Singh's "trick is to find a hook, tell an interesting story, and then ensure that science is slipped into it – a little bit like hiding the sprouts at the bottom of a child's favourite dinner."
Singh notes that The Simpsons is "the world's most popular TV series and nobody knows that there's this band of mathematicians at the heart of its writing team. People don't know that they smuggle maths into the series."
and one more bit:
"But should a science writer really be watching episodes of The Simpsons on repeat or could he be doing something more productive? He laughs. He says his wife, Anita Anand, a journalist and radio presenter who is writing a book on Sophia Duleep Singh, the Indian princess and suffragette, spends all day at the British Library, transcribing personal diaries. 'She comes back and I'm just lying on the sofa watching The Simpsons. I think she has a huge amount of fun doing that, but rather her than me. I'm happy watching The Simpsons at home.' "
The whole piece is great; check it out, and if you're either a Simpsons geek or a math geek (I think that covers about everyone), get the book.