Why mathematicians make great comedy writers

image0As the 25th season of The Simpsons starts in the States tonight, Simon Singh – author of The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets – explores the mystery of why so many mathematicians are on the writing team.

Most people are astonished to discover that The Simpsons contains dozens of jokes that relate to mathematics. Various episodes include references to everything from calculus to pi, from Mersenne primes to narcissistic numbers, from Klein bottles to Euler’s identity, from Möbius strips to infinity and beyond. For example, a prank about Fermat’s Last Theorem appears in two episodes of The Simpsons, namely Treehouse of Horror VI (1995) and The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace (1998).