How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists

The author of 'The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets', says the programme is: 'the most mathematical show on prime-time television in history'

Homer Simpson almost predicted the mass of the elementary particle, the Higgs boson, more than a decade before it was discovered, according to a new book on maths in The Simpsons.

In the episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace”, aired in 1998, Homer becomes an inventor and is shown in front of a blackboard with a complicated equation.

“That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson” Simon Singh said. “If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that’s only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is. It’s kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered.”

Dr Singh, author of The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets, said: “The Simpsons is the most mathematical TV show on prime-time television in history,” adding: “A lot of the writers on The Simpsons are mathematicians.” He said the first full episode of The Simpsons had a joke about calculus, adding there was a “tonne of maths” in the show which references concepts including Fermat’s last theorem, perfect numbers, mersenne primes and narcissistic numbers.

The Simpsons may “encourage and nourish” those who are into maths, Dr Singh said. He hoped teenagers who loved maths would feel inspired by the fact that the show’s creators shared their interests.

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