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Humor for Professors and Other Geeks

Updated on June 24, 2015

Men and Women of Science

Big Bang Theory

Very few television shows appeal to an engineer/librarian hybrid like me, married for decades to an engineering professor. That said, why did our kids get us The Big Bang Theory: Complete Sixth Season as a gift? Because it has just enough truth in it to keep us laughing.

Hanging Out with Ph.D.s

Having spent more time around Ph.D.s than most people, for example, I was not surprised when Sheldon, a physicist, ends up in trouble with human resources because his mouth can only spout facts, not tact. Nor was I surprised when Sheldon delegated his required online sensitivity training course to the very assistant he insulted to begin with. It's not that Ph.D.s are boors; They simply spend a lot of time inside their own minds, going where no one has gone before. When they return to earth, they don't always make the transition smoothly.

Speaking of going where no one has gone before, I love the episode in which they have their car stolen while en route to a Star Trek convention. Hitchhiking while in full makeup and Star Fleet uniform (or Borg costume) is no picnic.

The relationships between the genius men, genius women, and Penny, the normal girl next door, are what really make the show worth watching. The men are quirkier than most of the geniuses I know. (The professors I know personally have wives, kids, dogs...fairly normal except for their mutant brain power. And none read comic books, to my knowledge.) The women are a bit more normal, which makes sense as neuroscientists are finding that women tend to have more connections in their brains between left and right hemispheres, while men form more connections within one side or the other. Yes, there is science to back that up. Penny saves the day whenever any of the geniuses need to deal with normal stuff: bikini waxing, fishing, acting.

The adult humor in many episodes makes this inappropriate for young children, but adults will find many of the situations familiar, especially if they went to engineering school or work in any STEM* field.

*STEM=science, technology, engineering, math

Why do you like Big Bang Theory?

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