22 September 2013 4:43 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

When one of Britain's best-known science writers went to Los Angeles to meet the show's writers for a new book, he found a team dedicated to inserting gags about complex maths problems. And you thought it was just a cartoon…

Without doubt, the most mathematically sophisticated television show in the history of primetime broadcasting is The Simpsons. This is not a figment of my deranged mind, which admittedly is obsessed with both The Simpsons and mathematics, but rather it is a concrete claim backed up in a series of remarkable episodes.

The first proper episode of the series in 1989 contained numerous mathematical references (including a joke about calculus), while the infamous "Treehouse of Horror VI" episode presents the most intense five minutes of mathematics ever broadcast to a mass audience. Moreover, The Simpsons has even offered viewers an obscure joke about Fermat's last theorem, the most notorious equation in the history of mathematics. »

- Simon Singh

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