Funny Physicists on Television this Fall

pace ghost in big bang theory

A new urban legend: Is that the ghost head of a physics graduate student on a background stool of The Big Bang Theory?

If you are only going to watch one television show this fall…

then watch something educational on the Discovery Channel or, better yet, the Science Channel.

If you are going to watch at least two shows this fall, then add “The Big Bang Theory” to your list.

Last Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of viewing a taping of the show. As the guest of their Scientific Consultant I was able to observe the taping from backstage. It was very funny (both the full episode they showed the audience and the scenes that were filmed that night) and it incorporates physicists in a positive manner. Plus, it is the only show on television in which science is used for something other than solving murders.

Watching a live taping is a blast and definitely something worth doing at least once for anyone living in or visiting Los Angeles. Being backstage might make it sound as though one has a chance of being in the show, but that is definitely not how it works, not even for something a la the “Three Men and a Baby” ghost (but if I could, it would have looked like the image below).

Since everyone claims that a certain show is funny and worth watching and yet most shows are unentertaining, I have a second reason why you should watch this one: the people involved in making it are wonderful. I gave the writers a tour of my lab, they were all great; I asked a camera operator how he got into the business of camera operating (is that a physics nerd thing to do?), he was friendly and answered all my questions; I spoke to some of the actors after the taping, they were super nice; I got a hug from some CBS executive, which although unexpected was also very nice. That last one was a case of mistaken identity but it still speaks to the friendly atmosphere of the show.

In summary, if you don”t believe me that “The Big Bang Theory” is funny, then watch it just because they were nice to me. After seeing it once you will be able to decide for yourself.

  † As always, if I received any payment in exchange for an endorsement I would clearly state as much. I have not received anything from this show or anyone involved in exchange for suggesting people watch it. At best, maybe two people involved in the show even remember my name and no one cares whether I write about it on my website. I did eat some of their food, however, so I can at least disclose that.

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