5

In the Prisoner of Benda, due to one-way body swap shenanigans, two Globetrotter's have to work out if they can get everyone's minds back in order. They prove it can be done with any two extra people.

In reality, this was penned and proven by Mathematics PhD, and episode writer Ken Keeler. Which came first though? The proof or the episode?

7

The description on the Futurama wiki seems to imply he created the proof while working on the episode:

The Futurama theorem is a real-life mathematical theorem invented by Futurama writer Ken Keeler, who holds a PhD in applied mathematics, purely for use in the Season 6 episode "The Prisoner of Benda".

It is the first known theorem to be created for the sole purpose of entertainment in a TV show, and, according to Keeler, was included to popularize math among young people.

Unfortunately, that source gives no hint as to which idea came up first.

  • +1 for the quote, even if it can't be pinned down any better. – AncientSwordRage Jun 13 '12 at 22:49

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