I owe Chuck Lorre a thank-you note.
I'm a little behind, but this past year I was finally introduced to what I consider to be one of the greatest shows of all time: The Big Bang Theory.
A Chuck Lorre production, this show is witty, geeky, and has a great story line. It's about these four guys; 3 physicists: Sheldon, Leonard, and Raj; and Howard, an engineer; who work at the California Institute of Technology. Between their talks of science, theorems, and whatnot, they have a love for comic books, Star Wars, video games, and anything else you can think of related to the term "geek." In the mix of these four is Penny, their hot neighbor who works at the Cheesecake factory and aspires to be a waitress. Between experiments, videogames, and debates about superheroes unfolds the story of friendship, relationships, and getting people to accept you for who you are.
As much as I could go on about how much I love this show, there is a reason behind why I'm sharing this with all of you.
Just recently fellow Notes from the Digital Frontier blogger Lisa wrote about how the media has changed her heart on the subject of history. Which reminded me of how the Big Bang Theory has done the same with me when it comes to science.
While most parts of this show are fiction, the math and formulas and science behind it are not. There is actually a real physicist who comes on the show and fills in lines where there needs to be something scientific written. And those formulas, as Howard would say, "Looks like something they found on the ship at Roswell,"? All real. Nothing, scientifically, on this show is made up.
And I love it.
I remember the first time this show taught me something. It was "Schrödinger's cat." As Penny discusses with Sheldon about her upcoming date with Leonard, Sheldon introduces Schrödinger's cat as an example of their relationship. This won't be exact, but the gist of Schrödinger's cat is this: A cat is locked up in a box with a chemical that at any time could be released and will kill the cat. But until you open the box to look, the cat can be both thought of as dead or alive. Therefore, Penny's relationship with Leonard can work out, or it may not work out. But Penny will not know until she "opens the box," or basically gives the relationship a shot.
When I first heard this I thought it was ingenious. Ever since, whenever something scientific pops up on the show, I usually try to take a mental note to look it up and try to understand what they're talking about. This show has made science look cool.
Thank you Chuck Lorre, for helping me find my secret passion for science and my inner-geek. Who knew a sitcom could help you