THE BIG BANG THEORY’S REAL LIFE PHYSICIST
OK, so this isn’t about printers, ink, toner or computers but there is more to life than that. Like CBS’s hit sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory. Ever wonder where the resident geeks on the show get there science material from? A science consultant, David Saltzberg who happens to be a real life particle physicist at UCLA. His job is to make sure that every bit of physics is right-on.
He gets a script early in the shows process, sometimes the writers have put the science in them self’s and David fact-check’s it. There are other times that the script comes out with a note “Science to come”, that is when David fills it in. Each character on the show has his own specialty, Sheldon is a theoretical physicist working on string theory and Leonard’s is a experimentalist. The writers do the character developments and David comes up with the science that fits.
Whats pretty cool is the formulas on the boards are real and often relate to the script. In one episode they had astrophysicist and Nobel laureate George Smoot as a guest star and the whiteboards had diagrams of the apparatus that helped him make discoveries about the Big Bang! In another episode they put a formula on the board about a particle called a cascade which is made of three quarks. That formula was wrong and they got an e-mail from a fellow physicist whose expertise was in the cascade particle and he corrected them.
So a lot of what you hear and see on the show as far as the science end is actual and correct. And all this time I thought Sheldon knew what he was talking about. Oh well, all heroes must fall at some time. As geeks of all flavors can relate, finding a show about a topic we know very well is exciting, so being able to point out flaws in shows with very precise topics is a sort of sport for many. Still a great show to watch and be sure to keep an eye on the whiteboards and try to catch any mistakes.