In that The Simpsons is nearing 600 episodes, 73,000 guest stars, and their 27th season, it isn’t necessarily surprising that a bit of ground breaking scientific discovery made it into an episode — at a certain point, everything and everyone will be Simpsonized — but it’s still pretty neat.
According to Dr. Simon Singh, who wrote “The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets,” the 1998 Simpsons episode “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” features a moment where Homer figures out the mass of the Higgs boson 14 years before scientists made a Nobel Prize winning discovery with the help of the $9 billion Large Hadron Collider. So, you know, that was money well spent. Coulda just bought the Simpsons‘ Season 10 DVD set.
“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.”
Unfortunately, Homer isn’t a man out of time who has returned from the future to kickstart our path to the stars by tipping us off to important scientific discoveries. He’s just a cartoon character powered by the stories written by a group of writers who have fancy friends who work on stuff like the Higgs boson, or the God Particle.
In fact one of the script writers for the episode, David X. Cohen, was responsible for sneaking in the mathematical equations onto the blackboard.
He contacted one of his high school friends, David Schiminovich, who is an astronomer at Columbia University.
The first equation on the blackboard was largely based on his work predicting the mass of the Higgs boson – denoted by H0. The pair cooked up the equation to give the best answer on the data available at the time.
I guess that means that Homer doesn’t get a cut of the Nobel Prize.
(Source: The Independent)