12 Apr 2016
The Young Academy of Sweden have awarded four important people of The Big Bang Theory with the Torsten Wiesel Midnight Sun Award for Distinguished Achievement in Promoting Science from The Young Academy of Sweden. Dr. David Saltzberg,Professor of High Energy Experiment, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and Science Consultant for the Warner Bros. television comedy The Big Bang Theory; Co-Creators and Executive Producers of The Big Bang Theory, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady; and Steve Molaro, Executive Producer and Showrunner of The Big Bang Theory have all been distinguished with the award by the Young Academy for “bringing science to living rooms and laptops around the world in an irresistible comedy format through the television series The Big Bang Theory.”
The Young Academy of Sweden is an independent, cross-disciplinary forum for some of the most promising young researchers in Sweden in all disciplines. The Academy was formed May 27, 2011 at the initiative of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Young in this context is a scientist with a Ph.D. for no more than ten years ago.
The Young Academy of Sweden consists of 47 members. The length of office is 5 years and therefore new members are elected every year. The criteria for election are scientific excellence and a proven interest in the matters handled by the Academy. All scientific disciplines are welcome into the Academy, but all will not be represented at each point. The Young Academy of Sweden strives to reach the broadest range of disciplines as possible.
The Big Bang Theory, which revolves around a group of scientists and friends living in Pasadena, California have managed to turn to science for the context of the show and science also permeates the characters and how they deal with life. For example, Sheldon Cooper, the genius with the highest IQ on the show, was having difficulty finding friendships and thus came up with a ‘friendship algorithm’ using STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) principles; while the metaphor of Shrödinger’s cat has often been used when talking about relationships or situations unfolding.
While The Big Bang Theory is a comedy and they often take liberties in order to achieve the best quality of comedy, their Science has been depicted well. The laboratories are a perfect depiction of what real life STEM labs may look like. As well can be said with STEM oriented discussions between characters regarding their research. They are not only accurate, but are relevant and topical. The Big Bang Theory is quick to adopt new scientific breakthroughs in their story arcs.
The Big Bang Theory was wise in hiring a scientific consulting from the very beginning and that consultant is Dr. David Saltzberg, who ensures the accuracy of the science or STEM dialog as well as the props, lab layouts, and even the whiteboard equations for each individual series.
But the show does not stop there. The Big Bang Theory has seen Professor Stephen Hawking , Scientists Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene, and computer genius and inventor Steve Wozniak, as well as astronauts Dimitri Rezinov and Mike Massimino have guest starred and lent credibility to the show and their commitment to STEM.
In 2015, the cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory established The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment at UCLA which aids undergraduate students in need of financial aid who plan to major in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
“Together, Lorre, Prady, Molaro and Saltzberg have brought the world of science to the television sitcom format with spectacular impact. Through their humorous, yet respectful, handling of the subject matter, they have made science itself a star member of the cast. In so doing, they have exposed a whole new audience to the topic and fueled a public conversation about research across the world.”
The Big Bang Theory is produced by Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television.
Congratulations to all four (Lorre, Prady, Molaro & Saltzberg) as well as to the cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory for such a distinguished honor!