Farnsworth is the mad scientist of the Planet Express delivery service. He is the great (×30) nephew of Philip J. Fry. He sometimes acts between intelligence and amoral senility due to his greatly advanced age. He shows intelligence of any field of science necessary for the series' plots, and is thought to be one of the most brilliant inventors on Earth.
However, he falls asleep constantly, and he is implied to have routinely sent his former crews on suicide missions.
His character is influenced by Frank Morgan and Burgess Meredith. Farnsworth's design has been compared to a combination of Mr. Burns, Grampa Simpson, and Professor Frink from Matt Groening's other series, The Simpsons.
- "Billy West: The Many (Cartoon) Voices In His Head". Fresh Air. National Public Radio. July 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
'He sort of fades in and out. ... He's doddering, and he's a combination of lots of different wizards and Burgess Meredith and [The Wizard of Oz's] Frank Morgan and all those kinds of things all rolled up into one.'
- Gates, Anita (1999-01-24). "Groening's New World, 1,000 Years From Springfield". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-13.