What's Science Ever Done for Us?
What The Simpsons Can Teach Us About Physics, Robots, Life, and the Universe

By Paul Halpern

Cover of "What's Science Ever Done for Us?"

A playful and entertaining look at the science behind the world's most popular animated series from three-eyed fish to donut-shaped universes.

Learn the answers to these baffling questions and more

  • Does Lisa possess the dreaded "Simpson gene?"
  • Are there really three-eyed fish near nuclear reactors?
  • Could radiation cause Mr. Burns to glow?
  • Does the Coriolis force affect household appliances?
  • Is Homer truly a man of many dimensions?
  • Could a fully conscious robot brother replace Bart?
  • What could a talking astrolabe tell us?
  • How hazardous is tomacco?
  • Is it really possible to create black holes in home supply stores?
  • How could Lisa create her own miniature universe as a science project?
  • Which prominent scientists have appeared on the show as guest stars?
  • If Springfield and the world were threatened with destruction would there be hope for the human race?
  • Could Bart and Milhouse stop time forever and create perpetual mayhem?

Praise for What's Science Ever Done for Us?

  • The Simpsons…never assumes that its audience is too dull to dig the real questions in science and ethics that it poses. Part of its charm is that it's not so full of itself to pretend that it has easy answers to them either. We're looking forward to reading What's Science Ever Done For Us? when it comes out in July.

Book Contents

Part One
It's Alive
Chapter One
The Simpson Gene
Chapter Two
You Say Tomato, I Say Tomacco
Chapter Three
Blinky, The Three-Eyed Fish
Chapter Four
Burns's Radiant Glow
Chapter Five
We All Live in a Cell-Sized Submarine
Chapter Six
Lisa's Recipe for Life
Chapter Seven
Look Homer-ward Angel
Part Two
Mechanical Plots
Chapter Eight
D'ohs Ex Machina
Chapter Nine
Perpetual Commotion
Chapter Ten
Dude, I'm an Android
Chapter Eleven
Rules for Robots
Chapter Twelve
Chaos in Cartoonland
Chapter Thirteen
Fly in the Ointment
Part Three
No Time To D'Ohs
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
A Toast to the Past
Chapter Sixteen
Frinking about the Future
Part Four
Springfield, the Universe, and Beyond
Chapter Seventeen
Lisa's Scoping Skills
Chapter Eighteen
Diverting Rays
Chapter Nineteen
The Plunge Down Under
Chapter Twenty
If Astrolabes Could Talk
Chapter Twenty-One
Cometary Cowabunga
Chapter Twenty-Two
Homer's Space Odyssey
Chapter Twenty-Three
Could This Really be the End?
Chapter Twenty-Four
Foolish Earthlings
Chapter Twenty-Five
Is the Universe a Donut?
Chapter Twenty-Six
The Third Dimension of Homer
The Journey Continues
The Simpsons Movie Handy Science Checklist

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About the Author

Paul Halpern is a professor of physics at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He is the author of more than a dozen highly acclaimed popular science books and is the distinguished recipient of multiple awards related to his work, in addition to having appeared on numerous television and radio programs, including Future Quest and The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special. Learn more about him on his personal website.

This website has not been approved, licensed or sponsored by any person or entity involved in making The Simpsons, The Simpsons Movie or related products.