Monday, February 20, 2006

D'Oh(n): The Simpsons and Mathematics

An interesting article in the Fall 2005 issue of Emissary, the newsletter of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, reveals that a number of people associated with the TV show The Simpsons have mathematical backgrounds. Ken Keeler, for example, has a Ph. D. in applied math from Harvard, and Jeff Westbrook has a Ph. D. in computer science from Princeton. (I guess that makes up for the fact that the voice of Bart, Nancy Cartwright, is a member of the Scientology cult.)

For more information, see, a website created by Sarah J. Greenwald that documents some of the "in" math jokes contained in the show, and in particular this page that documents some of the mathematical connections of the writers and producers of the show. Almost makes me wish we had a working TV!

Stil not satisfied? Visit The Definitive Frink, a website devoted to the Professor Frink character.


Anonymous said...

I guess a lot of Hollywood writers will have Erdos Numbers thanks to Jeff Westbrook and Ken Keeler. I'm a computer scientist, so I suppose I would have a Bacon Number through Westbrook if connections from writers to actors are allowed.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to mention that Nancy Cartwright is, in fact, the voice of Bart Simpson, not of Lisa.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Thanks for the correction, saforrest. I've fixed it in the main text.