Sunday, December 1, 2013
A Few Quotes
Just a few quotations for your reflection today, taken from Simon Singh's "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets":
From famous British mathematician G.H. Hardy: "Archimedes will be remembered when Aeschylus is forgotten, because languages die and mathematical ideas do not. 'Immortality' may be a silly word, but probably a mathematician has the best chance of whatever it may mean."
From Simpsons writer (and Harvard physics grad) David Cohen, on the satisfaction derived from slipping mathematics into Simpsons' episodes: "I feel great about it. It's very easy working in television to not feel good about what you do on the grounds that you're causing the collapse of society. So, when we get the opportunity to raise the level of discussion -- particularly to glorify mathematics -- it cancels out those days when I've been writing those bodily function jokes."
And from author Singh: "It would be easy for non-nerds to dismiss the mathematical shenanigans that appear on The Simpsons and Futurama as superficial and frivolous, but that would be an insult to the wit and dedication of the two most mathematically gifted writing teams in the history of television. They have never shied away from championing everything from Fermat's last theorem to their very own Futurama theorem.
"As a society we rightly adore our great musicians and novelists, yet we seldom hear any mention of the humble mathematician. It is clear that mathematics is not considered part of our culture. Instead, mathematics is generally feared and mathematicians are often mocked. Despite this, the writers of The Simpsons and Futurama have been smuggling complex mathematical ideas onto prime-time television for almost a quarter of a century."