Friday, August 17, 2007

Book review in the Guardian

The Guardian, a paper with a long and spirited tradition of independent journalism, is one of my favorite British dailies. Therefore I am absolutely delighted that my book has been reviewed in its Saturday book review section:

Springfield Science

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Transcript of the UK Radio Interview

Here's the transcript of my interview on the "Naked Scientists" BBC Radio Show:

Radio Interview

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Doughnut Universe? Sweet!

Today, two US newspapers, USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer, featured my book in their science sections:

'The Simpsons' Scientific?

A Doughnut Universe? Sweet!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

UK Radio Interview

For those of you in England, particularly those in and around East Anglia, just to let you know that I will be interviewed this Sunday (12 August) on the BBC radio programme: "The Naked Scientists." This show features researchers from Cambridge University who strive to strip science down to its bare essentials. I will be speaking about... (dramatic pause) science and the Simpsons. Portions of an interview with Simpsons head writer Al Jean will also be aired.

The radio broadcast will be starting at 1800 BST on the following stations:
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: 96.0 & 95.7 FM
BBC Essex: 103.5 & 95.3 FM
BBC Radio Norfolk: 95.1 & 104.4 FM 855 & 873 AM
BBC Radio Northampton: 104.2 and 103.6 FM
BBC Radio Suffolk: 103.9, 104.6, 95.5 & 95.9 FM

For those of you not in that region, country, continent, or planet, there will also be a podcast at:
Science Podcasts

Monday, August 6, 2007

In this Blog we OBEY the laws of thermodynamics

I am pleased to announce that this blog is now featured in Method (The Best Science Blogs). In honor of being accepted into the science blog community, we promise to continue to obey the laws of thermodynamics, especially for closed systems. For open systems (such as the universe perhaps?) all bets are off.

I'm referring, of course, to one of Homer Simpson's most famous quotes about science, addressed to Lisa after she constructs a perpetual motion device, "In this house we OBEY the laws of thermodynamics."

The subject of physics in cartoons is curious indeed. Animators generally strive for physical realism-having their creations obey the law of gravity, the principle of inertia and so forth-unless they are trying to generate visual humor. Then they often veer in the opposite direction, deliberately trying to break the laws of physics to generate a chuckle or two. For example a rock dropping on the Coyote in the Road Runner cartoons is allowed to break the Galilean principle of bodies accelerating at equal rates. The rock might either hesitate or plunge at an unrealistically faster and faster pace, depending on which scenario is funnier.

In 1980, humorist Mark O' Donnell published a piece in Esquire magazine entitled "The Laws of Cartoon Motion. It includes gems such as "Any body suspended in space will remain suspended in space until made aware of its situation" and "All principles of gravity are negated by fear."

Here's a link to the full list:

The Laws of Cartoon Motion

The Simpsons is one of the few cartoons that includes verbal and situational, as well as visual, jokes about science. Hence, this "Science on the Simpsons" blog. So, for those of you just joining us, a hearty welcome and a scientific "woo hoo!"

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Simpsons Movie and Science

I was recently interviewed on Art Fennel Reports (CN8 TV) about science, The Simpsons, and The Simpsons Movie. Here's a link:

Interview on Art Fennel Reports