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BIG BANG THEORY: Learn Science From the Big Bang TV Show

Updated on December 21, 2013
Atlantis space shuttle
Atlantis space shuttle | Source

The amount of research that goes into making a TV sitcom like The-Big-Bang-Theory is impressive given the accuracy of the facts they present. A typical 20 minute episode will contain at least 10 verifiable scientific facts, meaning one fact every two minutes. The show is so popular that a google search for "big bang" will yield more results about it than for the actual theory.

In the beginning

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait...
The Earth began to cool.....

Science101 in 15 minutes

The words of the Bare Naked Ladies song used to introduce the TV series explain the big bang theory and the universe . The age of the universe has been estimated to be 14 billion years and it begun from a single very dense and hot point that is expanding.Those are three facts that are covered in the theme song alone. The following accurate scientific facts are found in the remaining 15 minutes of the show.

1. The Higgs Boson

If someone asked me what that meant a few years ago I would not have been able to answer the question. But after watching an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" TV series, my interest was stirred and I came to learn that it is a sub-atomic particle with a very short lifespan that gives all other matter their mass. This particle is also called the "God particle" because scientists (of the quantum type) believe that without it the sub-atomic particles that arose from the Big Bang would have floated endlessly in space and therefore life as we know would not have arisen. I do not claim that I now understand quantum physics by watching a TV show- it is the interest that it generated in me to find out a little more about a subject that is the point.

Do you believe the science in the Big Bang Tv series is accurate?

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2. Anthropic Principle

The Miriam Webster dictionary defines the anthropic principle as:

a : conditions that are observed in the universe must allow the observer to exist —also called the weak anthropic principle

b : the universe must have properties that make inevitable the existence of intelligent life —also called the strong anthropic principle

This principle is brought up by Sheldon (Big Bang Theory) when he asks his friends if they knew what it meant.

3. International Space Station (ISS)

The International Space Station is a joint venture between five space agencies: NASA (US), FSA (Russian Federation), JAEA (Japan), CSA (Canada) and ESA (European Union). The main service vehicle is the Russian Soyuz after the American Space Shuttle program was retired in 2011. There are plans in the future to use commercial vehicles to supply the station and two trial runs have already been implemented by contractors. The Cygnus spacecraft by Orbital Sciences Corp will in December 2013 launch the first of eight missions in a US$ 1.9 Billion contract.

The SETI  logo
The SETI logo | Source

4. Search for extra-terrestrial Intelligence

This is the collective name given to the activities aimed at searching for signs of extra-terresrial intelligence. Many institutions of higher learning have been involved in the search including Havard and University of California, Berkeley. The search usually involves the use of electro-magnetic monitoring of the cosmos.

American Space shuttle program

That America retired its fleet of space shuttles and has to rely on the Russians to take astronauts to the International Space Station using the Soyuz Spacecraft that is based in Kazakhstan.

5. Lymbic and pre-frontal cortex

The pre-frontal cortex controls what is known as the executive function and controls the ability to differentiate among conflicting thought. The Limbic cortex controls behaviour, emotions, motivation and long term memory.

6. Worm holes and Black holes

The mechanics of these two features may be hard to understand, but the general concept can be explained. Generally, a black hole is a collapsed stellar system that has a very high density and pulls anything into itself. A black hole infinitely sinks into itself and has a very large mass that not even light can escape its gravitational pull. A worm hole is a theoretical tunnel in which one can move to a different time zone.


Though I may have not become a scientist from watching a single episode of the TV series, there is enough material there to get one started on journey of discovery of the sciences. Such quality research is commendable and the material should not just be used for entertainment: rather, it should be incorporated into class-room studies.


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    • gitachud profile imageAUTHOR

      David Gitachu 

      5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks for your comment SpaceShanty. My research indicate the producers try to make the show as accurate as possible.

    • SpaceShanty profile image


      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      The actress who plays Amy is actually a scientist in real life and she helps with the scientific facts in the show, she is also the same actress who played Blossom which is mentioned by Raj in the show, kind of an in joke, I watch too much TV......

    • gitachud profile imageAUTHOR

      David Gitachu 

      5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thanks for your comments and the follow. I love the show too and the humorous manner they present facts. Hope Warner Bros come up with more educative yet funny shows in the future.

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 

      5 years ago from Newport Beach

      Excellent! I think you're absolutely wonderful to have explored some of these concepts from this "stellar" sitcom. I've been intrigued with the vocabulary, encouraged that apparently all America is intrigued, but never investigated it like you have! My husband, however, works as a software engineer on the Warner Bros. lot, and he has passed Johnny Galecki and said "Hi," as well as Kunal Nayyar, and Simon Helberg. It's a policy that workers on the lot don't engage the actors, but he walks by so often, the actors smile and say "Hello" so it's neat. You're right about googling merely "big bang". My daughter who doesn't watch it that much laughed when we just call it "Big Bang" rather than the whole title!

      It gives me great pleasure to watch it each week. Excellent acting. I hope the writers realize how much they do to make our lives a little more informed and cheerful. Great hub!


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