Ok, so which one of you is responsible for this? (Since I started writing the post, I’ve since learned the answer – see below.)
I was watching the 1999 Mars University episode of Futurama some nights back. It’s the one where Professor Farnsworth teaches (among the many excellent lines: “I can’t teach, I’m a professor…”) a course entitled “The Mathematics of Quantum Neutrino Fields”. The above is a shot of him at the board mid-lecture.
Lots of in-jokes for the theoretical physics community. (Sorry to the vast majority of you who don’t (and have no reason to) get it.)
Actually, one of the reasons I love the show is because there’s a huge amount of mathematics and theoretical physics jokes in them. Recall an earlier post, and see some sites I found that mention a few here and here. And science jokes in general. (No wonder Fox killed it – can’t have that many science-informed jokes on prime time network tv. That would be wrong, ‘cos science is scary, you see.)
Turns out that there was a huge amount of science-trained people on the writing staff, and they stayed in contact with their scientist friends (such as David Schiminovich who is responsible for some of the stuff on the board above) for when they needed even more science to sneak in. Excellent. For this and more, here’s an interview with David X. Cohen (trained in physics and chemistry) about this.
Still among the best ever quotes from the show:
Professor: “Nothing is impossible if you can imagine it! That’s what being a scientist is all about!”
Cubert: “No, that’s what being a magical elf is all about.”