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Making a Big Bang on the small screen

Stars of the show From left to right, Raj, Howard, Leonard and Sheldon build a robot to enter a fighting-robot competition (credit: Warner Bros Television Entertainment)

By Michael Banks

You may have heard of, or possibly seen, the hit TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory, which features two brilliant postdoc physicists, Leonard and Sheldon, who are totally absorbed by science but fail to fit in with their 20-something non-academic contemporaries.

Now in its third season on the CBS network in the US and with a fourth commissioned, the show has over 13 million US viewers. The sitcom also airs in the UK on Channel 4 and last month E4, Channel 4’s digital network, started showing the third season.

In the January edition of Physics World, Nick Thomas from Auburn University at Montgomery, talks exclusively to the show’s stars and creators about why the series, which has a dialogue peppered with references to physics and mathematics, is such a roaring success with viewers.

Click here to read the full story.

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  1. Ender

    I only watched that series once, and absolutely disliked it because it spreads the stereotype that scientists, and particularly physicists are unfits and nerds; a conception I definitely reject. The fact that science attracts a few people like these doesn’t mean they should characterise it. The problem with this isn’t so much with those of us in the profession; we couldn’t possibly care less, since we know better. The problem is that it puts off a few brilliant students, who will rather choose other careers, rather than science. Among the many colleagues I’ve me throughout my career I’ve found some extraordinary people from a wide range of backgrounds and with a wide range or interests.
    I guess the success of the show isn’t so much the science they try to project (does people really understand the medical facts and fantasies behind House?), but because of the comical elation geeks produce.

  2. I think the programme has excellent scripts that are constantly funny. Rare, almost unique in the repetitive humour of most US exported comedies. The mix of players and their own personalities only add to the proggy’s entertainment value.
    I suspect the general public know most professional scientists are not characterised by the BBT, back to the future, James Lovelock nor the pretender Al Gore. Mind you, Sheldon seems to have swallowed the ACO2 bull so perhaps he is an exception?.


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