What's Science Ever Done For Us: What the Simpsons Can Teach Us About Physics, Robots, Life, and the Universe
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
This amusing book explores science as presented on the longest-running and most popular animated TV series ever made: The Simpsons. Over the years, the show has examined such issues as genetic mutation, time travel, artificial intelligence, and even aliens. ""What's Science Ever Done for Us?"" examines these and many other topics through the lens of America's favorite cartoon.
This spirited science guide will inform Simpsons fans and entertain science buffs with a delightful combination of fun and fact. It will be the perfect companion to the upcoming Simpsons movie.
The Simpsons is a magnificent roadmap of modern issues in science. This completely unauthorized, informative, and fun exploration of the science and technology, connected with the world's most famous cartoon family, looks at classic episodes from the show to launch fascinating scientific discussions mixed with intriguing speculative ideas and a dose of humor. Could gravitational lensing create optical illusions, such as when Homer saw someone invisible to everyone else? Is the Coriolis effect strong enough to make all toilets in the Southern Hemisphere flush clockwise, as Bart was so keen to find out? If Earth were in peril, would it make sense to board a rocket, as Marge, Lisa, and Maggie did, and head to Mars? While Bart and Millhouse can't stop time and have fun forever, Paul Halpern explores the theoretical possibilities involving Einstein's theory of time dilation.
Paul Halpern, PhD (Philadelphia, PA) is Professor of Physics and Mathematics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and a 2002 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. He is also the author of The Great Beyond (0-471-46595-X).
ago, when it was seen as a cure-all. When Burns touts radiation’s beneﬁts, his message is a throwback to the bad old days when radium, a naturally radioactive element, was largely mishandled due to ignorance about its dangers. It was even included in “health tonics” that were supposed to give users increased vitality and a “healthy glow.” Indeed Burns himself has such a glow, but whether it’s healthy or not is a different matter. 36 4 Burns’s Radiant Glow E very city has its great
laws of thermodynamics.” The strike eventually ends. Even Bart, who has been upset about the strange parade of substitute teachers, including his mom, is happy to be back at school. Lisa, obedient daughter that she is, follows Homer’s instructions. Nary a word is heard again about her perpetual-motion device. Ordering a real person to follow the laws of thermodynamics, the law of gravity, or any other physical principles is, of course, absurd. Our bodies automatically comply with the inherent
Terri to German exchange student Üter, offer no real competition. In Lisa’s family too, though she is the second smallest, she is clearly the intellectual giant. Despite Homer’s technological job and active imagination—as expressed in off-the-wall daydreams—he is one crayon short of a full pack. In fact the missing crayon is lodged in his brain, as revealed in the episode “Homr,” loosely based on the classic story “Flowers for Algernon.” When the crayon is surgically removed, Homer’s IQ goes up
who required an imaginative, but scientiﬁcally feasible, way of having a character in his book Contact take a rapid interstellar voyage. Like mountain tunnels providing shortcuts between otherwise widely separated communities, wormholes are hypothetical tunnels through the spatial fabric linking up otherwise remote regions of the cosmos. In standard terminology, a wormhole has two “mouths” (entranceways), one on each end, connected by a long “throat” (the tunnel itself). The throat is carved out
would well up and destroy it, like rising tides smoothing over sand castles. Thorne and his coworkers, along with the Russian theorist Igor Novikov, have taken a different tack. They’ve made the case that backward time travel is reasonable, as long as it is self-consistent. In other words, if someone journeys to the past and doesn’t change history, but rather is a part of history, that’s okay. The result, they contend, would be a coherent chronology of events, rather than one with messy,