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Why “The Big Bang Theory” is a vital scientific resource

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Why “The Big Bang Theory” is a vital scientific resource

Even science in entertainment can have value. It can foster interest in different scientific fields.

Even science in entertainment can have value. It can foster interest in different scientific fields.

Even science in entertainment can have value. It can foster interest in different scientific fields.

Even science in entertainment can have value. It can foster interest in different scientific fields.


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You read that right, scientific journals are great, peer-reviewed studies are dandy, but the real unsung hero of modern science is “The Big Bang Theory.” Well… maybe not in the same way a journal or encyclopedia of physics constants hold value, but still.

The effect of what I will refer to as “popsci” media is insidious in a great way. It passes itself off as complete fluff, mental junk food if you will; however, there’s some spinach hidden in those brownies. These science-adjacent properties are some of the best ways to draw public interest to the real science, the good stuff. Imagine a teenager who hates chemistry, physics or just about any subject outside of “Fortnite;” but then they see in their news feed something about Elon Musk, a news article about Musk’s recent lawsuit perhaps. Then from there, they go to a related Buzzfeed article “Top 10 ways Elon Musk is a Secret Bond Villain” then from there they actually go to the SpaceX website and learn about rockets landing themselves from orbit. Voila, a trending article about a complete junk news story has led our misguided youth to the actual scientific resource.

Popsci isn’t just confined to media. Even these darn phones we’re always gawking at have increased the general public’s ability to learn increasingly complex concepts. Imagine going back 40 years and striking up a conversation about how many gigabytes of storage your pocket computer has. You’d get stared at like a psycho! Yet here we are today, in a world where I can ask you how many gigs of memory your phone has, and you’d be able to respond almost immediately. Not only could you respond with a number, but you’d also likely have an approximate knowledge of how many videos, songs or pictures you could fit on it. That’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Not only can we grasp using electricity to store data, but we can also describe how many pieces of media we can put into this abstract system of ones and zeros.

The final point I’m going to try to make about why “The Big Bang Theory” is a vital tool in educating society may offend you if you really like the show. Sitcoms like “The Big Bang Theory” are written to appeal to the widest audience possible, meaning they keep themselves very easy to understand. This is the key to why I think late night sitcoms are a great gauge of scientific interest. If “The Big Bang Theory” can make even an entry-level joke about chemistry, say a pun about electrons being negative, and get their audience to chuckle, it means a majority of the American public remember their chemistry classes in middle school, and it jogs their memory for a split second. It shows that even in a world where there’s plenty of mental Cheetos we aren’t averse to the occasional mental banana. And that’s really my point here. It’s to encourage us all to enjoy our fun media, our Facebook fact pages, our Buzzfeed articles, even our primetime sitcoms, but maybe once in a while take that second look at the popsci references in them, turn the page and remember that you never stop learning. “Bazinga.”

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Why “The Big Bang Theory” is a vital scientific resource