Singh’s account combines readability with a more meaty level of technical analysis than any other I have seen. His powers of explanation are as dazzling as ever
– Guardian on THE CODE BOOK
Everyone knows that The Simpsons is probably the most successful show in television history. What you might not know is that it contains enough sophisticated mathematics to form a university course, and then some.
In the first ever episode, baby Maggie is messing around with some building blocks, which she nonchalantly piles up into a stack that reads EMCSQU. She’s cracked Einstein’s famous formula, E=mc2. You might not notice unless you’re a bit nerdy, but it’s a sign of things to come. The following twenty-five series are peppered with subtle and not-so-subtle references to theorems, conjectures and equations: Bart being mistaken for a boy-genius and sent to an Enriched Learning Centre for Gifted Children where the students speak only in algebra; Lisa proving that statistical analysis can lead a school baseball team to victory; and the aged Professor Frink showing off his mind-bending Frinkahedron. And most unexpected of all, it’s maths that actually works – even the stuff that’s just scribbled on a classroom blackboard.
Bestselling author Simon Singh investigates the maths that infiltrates The Simpsons in a way that is both accessible and funny. He takes you behind the scenes and makes sense of the complex mathematical jokes that litter the show. He meets the writing team who are not only comedy geniuses but who also happen to hold an array of diplomas in super-geeky subjects from applied mathematics to biochemistry (in fact, two of the original writers were brought in especially to ‘nerdify’ the first series). And along the way, he throws light on the history of maths and the problems that still haunt today’s generation of number theorists. D’oh!
Simon Singh was born in Somerset of Punjabi descent, studied physics at Imperial College, London, and took a PhD in particle physics at the University of Cambridge.
In 1990 he joined the BBC’s Science Department, where he was a producer and director in programmes such as Tomorrow’s World and Horizon. In 1996 he directed Fermat’s Last Theorem, a BAFTA award winning documentary about the world’s most notorious mathematical problem. The documentary was also aired in America as part of the NOVA series. The Proof, as it was re-titled, was also nominated for an Emmy.
Since then, Simon has researched the history of code-breaking, writing books and presenting a Channel 4 series about the topic. He has also become interested in studying the effectiveness of alternative therapies, and recently teamed up with Professor Edzard Ernst to write TRICK OR TREATMENT? : Alternative Medicine on Trial.