The Math in Futurama: How 93 Cents Turned into 4.3 Billion Dollars?

Futurama is a beloved cartoon that aired in the early 2000s. The show followed the adventures of a pizza delivery boy, FRY, who found himself cryogenically frozen for 1000 years. In the sixth episode, Fry, the main character, discovers an old bank account with a balance of 93 cents, which had compounded to an unbelievable 4.3 billion dollars. This may seem like a ridiculous plotline, but as it turned out, the writers, including one with a Ph.D. in Mathematics, got the math right.

Futurama was a show known for its clever writing and witty references, often paying homage to classic science fiction tales and geek culture. However, most people might not realize that the writers behind the show were experts in their fields, including mathematics. For instance, Ken Keeler, one of Futurama’s writers, has a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Harvard University.

So when the show’s sixth episode aired, which revolved around Fry’s newfound fortune, some may have thought that the numbers were just made up for comedic effect. However, the math behind the plotline was sound and based on some pretty serious calculations.

From .93 cents to 4.3 billion dollars

Remarkably, with simple interest of 2.25 percent per year, 93 cents could compound to 4.3 billion dollars over a period of 1000 years. This was confirmed by several mathematicians who chimed in after the episode aired. Of course, the exact amount might differ due to rounding and fluctuations in interest along the way, but the overall principle remained the same.

$0.93*1.0225^1000 = $4,283,508,449.71

The implications of this calculation are nothing short of mind-boggling. It shows how even a tiny amount of money can grow into a massive fortune, given enough time and steady interest rates. It also highlights the power of compound interest, a fundamental financial concept that can be applied to personal finance and investments.

But what’s even more impressive is that Keeler himself created a mathematical theorem to solve a plot point in a different episode of Futurama. This math problem was so complex that it ended up being published in an academic journal, proving that the show’s writers were not only creative but also serious about their math.

In conclusion, the math of Futurama may seem like a trivial topic, but it is a testament to the show’s clever writing and attention to detail. The fact that the writers went to such lengths to get the numbers right shows that they were not just trying to be funny but were also interested in exploring the deeper implications of their stories.

So, the next time you watch Futurama, remember that even the most ridiculous and absurd plotlines can be grounded in sound mathematics. And who knows, those lessons can even help you with your finances, too!

You may also enjoy reading these:

• 6 Beautiful Math Movies Based on True Stories
Pixar: The Math Behind the Movies
25+ Beautiful Math Movies for Mathematics Lovers
• In this house, we obey the laws of thermodynamics!

Ali Kaya


Ali Kaya

This is Ali. Bespectacled and mustachioed father, math blogger, and soccer player. I also do consult for global math and science startups.

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