When your Tv show’s writing employees involves folks with PhDs in maths and sciences, you’re bound to finish up with some spectacularly nerdy jokes. And if you dig a small deeper into some of the jokes in Futurama, you will not just laugh — you may possibly really find out one thing.

The Futurama writers had a rule that the show’s more obscure jokes couldn’t be central to the plot. So the background is stuffed with nods to mathematics, science, history, and literature. Numbers are typically translated into math issues (instead of Studio 54, the crew visits Studio 1sup22sup13sup3). Robot information and facts is conveyed in binary (quotThe Honkingquot references the quotRedrumquot scene in The Shining, when Bender is perplexed to see quot0101100101quot written in blood on a wall, but then realizes that it reads quot1010011010quot in the mirror, a series of digits that translates to quot666quot). And of course, there’s the Alienese language. But the writers also constructed entire episodes around the Banach-Tarski paradox and the premise of 3-dimensional characters getting into two-dimensional space.

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Some of Futurama’s smaller jokes require a bit a lot more context to have an understanding of, and if you’re not already familiar with the mathematic and scientific principles or historical context necessary to get the joke, finding out a bit extra about them can be fascinating and pretty rewarding. Right here are just a handful of these jokes.

1. quotNo fair! You changed the outcome by measuring it!quot

In quotLuck of the Fryrish,quot the Planet Express crew goes to the racetrack, exactly where two horses finish a race neck and neck. In order to establish the outcome of the race, the officials use an electron microscope and announce Quantity 3 is winner in a quotquantum finish.quot The Professor, incensed, shouts, quotNo fair! You changed the outcome by measuring it.quot There’s a purpose this joke is a classic.

The Professor is referencing the **observer impact**, the effect of observation on the phenomenon being observed. In quantum mechanics, when we measure the state of a quantum technique, we know its current state and cease it from being in any of its other probable states. Of course, it really is rather poor enterprise for a racetrack to have its winner be a superposition of two distinct horses at the very same time. The Futurama writers also appreciate to reference the famous believed experiment about observation and quantum mechanics, Schroumldinger’s cat.

two. quotWhat happens in Cygnus X-1 stays in Cygnus X-1quot

The opening tagline for quotPrisoner of Bendaquot is definitely a reference to the slogan quotWhat takes place in Vegas stays in Vegas.quot But Vegas has absolutely nothing on **Cygnus X-1, which is a black hole candidate**. No way your photographs are getting out of there and ending up on Facebook.

Adding one more layer to the joke is the fact that Cygnus X-1 was itself the topic of a wager. In 1975, Stephen Hawking bet fellow physicist Kip Thorne that Cygnus X-1 would not ultimately prove to be a black hole. At some point, Hawking conceded the bet, and Thorne allegedly won a a single-year subscription to Penthouse as his prize.

This is not even close to the coolest scientific aspect of this episode. After all, writer Ken Keeler, who holds a PhD in applied mathematics, created a mathematical proof to resolve the episode’s core conflict.

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3. Loew’s ℵ0-Plex

What comes immediately after the multiplex? New New York’s premiere movie theater (which shows up in a couple of episodes) is and aleph-nullplex. **ℵ0 is the cardinality (measure of elements in a set) of all all-natural numbers**, and consequently describes sets that are countably infinite. We suspect that, even in the year 3000, it’s a slight exaggeration for the movie theater to claim it has an infinite quantity of screens — even if it is a small quantity of infinity.

The ℵ0-plex was the brainchild of none other than Keeler, who joked in a draft of the quotRaging Benderquot script that it still would not be large enough to show all the Rocky films.

In his book The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, Simon Singh notes that Futurama also references a much bigger infinity. In quotMoumlbius Dick,quot Bender ends up in a 4-dimensional space with quite a few copies of himself doing a conga line and later quips, quotThat was the greatest uncountably infinite bunch of guys I ever met.quot

four. Delighted ln(bΩer)

This is a pun that calls for some understanding of mathematical symbols, scientific symbols, and Jewish holidays. The quotlnquot refers to a all-natural logarithm, and the omega is the symbol for ohm, the SI derived unit of electrical resistance. So the sign reads quotHappy Logbohmerquot or, rather, **quotHappy Lag BaOmer.quot** Lag BaOmer is a vacation celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of Omer, when the mourning of the Counting of Omer is lifted, so the date of Bender’s son Ben’s Bot-Mitzvah in quotThe Bots and the Beesquot is an auspicious one particular.

[Hat tip to r/futurama]

5. Taxicab Numbers

Eagle-eyed Futurama viewers may notice that the quantity 1729 shows up an awful lot in the show. It is component of the Nimbus’s registration quantity. Bender is Mom’s son #1729. In the course of quotThe Farnsworth Parabox,quot the crew visits Universe 1729.

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So what’s the deal? 1729 is the **Hardy–Ramanujan quantity**, also recognized as a taxicab quantity. G.H. Hardy and Srinivisa Ramanujan have been mathematicians and unlikely mates. According to Hardy, their interest in 1729 came about when Hardy visited Ramanujan and remarked that he had ridden in a cab numbered 1729. It struck Hardy as a rather dull quantity, and he worried that it was an ill omen. Ramanujan replied that it was essentially rather an interesting quantity right after all, it is the smallest number that can be expressed as the sum of two optimistic algebraic cubes in two distinct strategies: 1729 = 13 + 123 = 93 + 103

A taxicab quantity has because been defined as the smallest number that can be expressed as the sum of two optimistic algebraic cubes in n distinct strategies. For the most component, the quantity 1729 is made use of merely as a nod to Hardy and Ramanujan, but in quotBender’s Large Score,quot the taxicab number 87539319 shows up, amusingly enough, on a taxicab. 87539319 is the smallest number that can be written as the sum of two cubes in 3 distinct techniques: 87,539,319 = 1673+4363 = 2283+4233 = 2553+4143

6. Mars University Physics Annex

This is a web page gag that confuses some viewers at initial glance. Right after all, the Mars University Physics Division and the Annex clearly have various masses, but they appear balanced on the lever. But we have to look at the **mechanical advantage** of the lever. The fulcrum is considerably closer to the key building than the annex, so in order to balance the lever, the force that the annex exerts on the lever need to be less than the force that the key constructing exerts on the lever.

A balanced lever can be expressed with the equation (M1)(a) = (M2)(b), where M1 is the mass at a single finish of the fulcrum, M2 is the mass at the other end of the fulcrum, a is the distance from the fulcrum to M1, and b is the distance from the fulcrum to M2. Of course, this all goes to hell when Nibbler’s ship lands outdoors the most important building.

7. All Those Beers

In the episode quotThe Route of All Evil,quot Bender, Fry, and Leela all head to the, ahem, 711 to purchase beer. All of the beers are punny — Pabst Blue Robot, Lobrau — but some of them are especially geeky:

We get a reference to the programming language **FORTRAN**, which was created by IBM in the 1950s. Bender drinks it in lieu of Olde English 800, so of course it has a laptop or computer language in the name alternatively of a human a single.

The **Klein bottles** are a non-orientable object, a great deal like a Moumlbius strip. Its surface is one particular continuous quotside,quot so you want to watch how you pour that beer.

St. Pauli Girl beer gets mashed up with the **Pauli exclusion principle**, named for Wolfgang Pauli. The principle states that two identical fermions cannot occupy the exact same quantum state simultaneously. We have no concept how that affects the taste of the beer.

8. Bull Space Moose Party

Not all of Futurama’s jokes reference math and science. Some are about history and politics. In quotA Head in the Polls,quot Fry checks out distinct political parties, and in correct Futurama form, the most obscure jokes are lurking in the background. A booth that appears to be manned by Bullwinkle bears the banner quotBully Space Moose Celebration,quot a reference to the **Progressive Party of 1912**. The party was formed by former US President Theodore Roosevelt after he had a falling out with fellow Republican President William Howard Taft. The third party was called the Bull Moose Celebration simply because a journalist quoted Roosevelt as saying quotI’m feeling like a bull moose.quot Naturally, although, Fry finds himself drawn to the Apathy Party.

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9. Witten’s Dog

You may perhaps have heard of Schroumldinger’s cat, but Witten’s Dog is entirely an invention of Futurama. It, paired with the phrase quotSuperdupersymmetric String Theory,quot is a nod to **Ed Witten**, one particular of the fathers of superstring theory and 1 of the world’s greatest living theoretical physicists. In the commentary for this episode, quotMars University,quot it’s explained that a Caltech physicist drew this parody diagram, which is, at its heart, just a classy poop joke.

10. The Cryptic Crypt Inscription

In quotThe Duh-Vinci Code,quot the crew flies to Rome to explore the tomb of Saint James and comes across an inscription in Roman numerals that is clearly not a date, but rather aspect of an equation. In his book, Singh notes that there is absolutely nothing random about this distinct set of numbers, and that solving the trouble offers a quite fascinating result.

IIXI – (XXIII * LXXXIX) translates to 211 – (23 * 89), which equals 1. If we rearrange the equation 211 – (23 * 89) = 1, we get 211 – 1 = 2047. This equation takes the form of a **Mersenne prime**, in which a prime number is found even though 2p – 1, exactly where p is any prime number. The exciting thing about 2047 is that it really is not prime. In truth, it is the smallest quantity described by 2p – 1 that is not prime.

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