Fans of the “Big Bang Theory” can rejoice as the seventh season of the CBS show kicks off Thursday.
The series, following the lives of four nerdy, socially awkward scientists* is the most-watched comedy on television and loved for its geeky references.
Viewers also know it’s inundated with a ton of physics jargon. Most episodes include a whiteboard with scientific equations can be found in the background of Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon’s (Jim Parsons) apartment.
However, is it real?
UCLA Physics professor Dr. David Saltzberg has worked as a science consultant on the show since 2007.
Saltzberg does everything from calculating science experiments for the crew to checking the accuracy of jokes on the series, according to NPR.
The professor’s job also includes reviewing unfinished scripts that contain brackets reading “Insert Science Here.”
Saltzberg says he landed the role after receiving a call from a friend who’s an astrophysicist at University of Hawaii saying sitcom creators were searching for an physicist.
Originally the show’s co-creators and executive producers Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre came to Saltzberg looking for a grad student looking for a grad student to fill the consultant role.
“If we’re going to write about geniuses, we better damn well have one around,” said Lorre in an interview.
When something is outside of the physics realm, Saltzberg gets advice from star Mayim Bialik.
Bialik has a PhD in neuroscience to complement her neuroscientist character, Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler.
And all the maths work on the whiteboards in the background? That’s Saltzberg’s doing as well.
“He makes sure the whiteboards are correct. For every new episode, they’re covered by a fresh scrawl of formulas dreamed up by Saltzberg and admired by physicists for their scrupulous accuracy — and occasional shoutouts to what’s happening in the world of science.”
They’ve become something of a fan favourite with Saltzberg often receiving feedback on the equations from viewers.
So when tuning in Thursday, make sure to look out for the white boards in the background.
Watch an interview below with Saltzberg:
*Simon Helberg’s character Howard Walowitz isn’t technically a scientist as he’s the only one of the group who doesn’t have a PhD. Rather, he’s an engineer.
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