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Ask David Saltzberg About Being The Big Bang Theory's Science Advisor

samzenpus posted about 1 month ago | from the go-ahead-and-ask dept.

Television 226

For seven seasons Dr. David Saltzberg has made sure the science on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory is correct. As science consultant for the show he reviews scripts for technical errors, fixing any problems he finds. He also adds complex formulae to whiteboards on set. Before his life as a science advisor, Saltzberg received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago, performed post-graduate work at CERN, and currently is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA. He writes The Big Blog Theory, where he explains the science behind each episode of the show. Dr. Saltzberg has agreed to answer any questions you have about the show or his previous scientific work. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.

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Your Own Life Experience (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47826765)

Were you ridiculed at all in your youth for being interested in science? Do you feel the show promotes acceptance towards those of us who enjoy the various sciences? Or does it perpetuate the stereotype that if someone is interested in science then they must be socially inept and interactively dysfunctional?

If your answer is the former option, I personally fail to see it in the show.

Re:Your Own Life Experience (1, Troll)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 1 month ago | (#47827311)

That is a very polite way of putting the question I would have asked, which is "How does it feel to work on a lame network sitcom whose premise is that nerds and autistic people are F U N N Y ?" and the follow-up question "Do you yourself like laughing at nerds, geeks, spazes, and people suffering from Aspergers Syndrome--or do you just pretend to every day because your desire for a paycheck is much greater than any sense of shame you may have once possessed?"

Do Penny's boobs defy gravity? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47826775)

Have you run any experiments to verify your answer?

Re:Do Penny's boobs defy gravity? (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 1 month ago | (#47827631)

You're not a geek or a nerd. You're a perv.

Re:Do Penny's boobs defy gravity? (1)

khr (708262) | about 1 month ago | (#47827909)

You're not a geek or a nerd. You're a perv.

Those don't have to be mutually exclusive.

Re:Do Penny's boobs defy gravity? (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 1 month ago | (#47828277)

He didn't giggle when he asked the question so I knew he wasn't a nerd.

Advancing science (3, Interesting)

korbulon (2792438) | about 1 month ago | (#47826825)

By exposing a mass audience to scientific principles and archetypes, do you think a show like Big Bang Theory somehow advances the cause of science, or is it basically irrelevant?

Re:Advancing science (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 1 month ago | (#47827117)

BBT is comedy for anybody who remembers their high school science, and the cute girl factor is a reminder that you get girls to do that when you're that smart.

Re:Advancing science (0, Troll)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 1 month ago | (#47827291)

It's basically irrelevant, if nothing else because the show teaches people to laugh at geeks and nerds. The "science" is just window dressing to enable this, it could be techno-babble for all the audience knows - or cares.

Re:Advancing science (-1, Troll)

sinij (911942) | about 1 month ago | (#47827427)

>>>the show teaches people to laugh at geeks and nerds.

This.

Re:Advancing science (0)

sexconker (1179573) | about 1 month ago | (#47827843)

And rightly so.

Re:Advancing science (4, Insightful)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 1 month ago | (#47827701)

It doesn't teach to laugh at geeks and nerds. It laughs at the stereotypes tied to geeks and nerds. When we make fudge packing references do we laugh at homosexuals? The answer is no.

I was a geek/nerd in high school and although I relate to many of the stereotypes they are mostly exaggerated and intended for comedy. I find this show helps makes geeks and nerds look cool.

No, it's real. (4, Interesting)

Kludge (13653) | about 1 month ago | (#47828379)

It doesn't teach to laugh at geeks and nerds. It laughs at the stereotypes tied to geeks and nerds.

No, those are not stereotypes. They are characters probably based on real people. I watch the show and it completely reminds me of my college and grad school years and the people whom I knew then, including the Texan. It literally gives me flashbacks.

Re:Advancing science (1)

plover (150551) | about 1 month ago | (#47828143)

Not the whole audience. Some of us actually do care that they're not spouting the technobabble you hear in the typical Sci Fi shows, or that when the characters do make mention of it, it's to mock it, just as we do.

Re:Advancing science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827325)

By exposing a mass audience to scientific principles and archetypes, do you think a show like Big Bang Theory somehow advances the cause of science, or is it basically irrelevant?

It's advanced science about as much as a bucket of ice has advanced anyone's understanding of ALS.

Let's cut the shit here, science does not usually throw out casting calls for comedians and gorgeous blonde women, which is exactly why BBT is popular. It has jack shit to do with Sheldons geek rants, or the 2% of the population watching that even remotely understands them.

And the only reason you've got a PhD fact-checking the science on the show is because it's the geeky thing to do and they have the money to pay someone to do that very geeky thing. It's not like ratings will suddenly plummet if Sheldon's math is off by a factor of 12 when discovered on a random whiteboard in the background.

Re:Advancing science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828001)

No, it drives another generation of smart women to the social sciences.

Do you like the show? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47826829)

See subject.

Comedy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47826833)

If the show is meant to be funny, why use canned laughter?

Re:Comedy (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827203)

Big Bang Theory is filmed in front of a live audience. You can get tickets here [the-big-bang-theory.com] .

Re:Comedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827371)

No sh*t. So aren't a lot of other shows that use canned laughter.

Re: Comedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827469)

The two statements aren't mutually exclusive. Anyway, the question could be better phrased as "If the show is funny, why do you prompt me to laugh?".

Re: Comedy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827509)

They don't just use teleprompters for the live audience. They use actual, pre-recorded laugh tracks.

Re: Comedy (4, Informative)

dugancent (2616577) | about 1 month ago | (#47827623)

They have never used laugh tracks. They use professional, paid, audience members to guide laughter.

Re:Comedy (4, Interesting)

dugancent (2616577) | about 1 month ago | (#47827391)

I've seen the show in person. They have a mix of regular and professional audience members.

Re:Comedy (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 1 month ago | (#47827677)

I've seen the show in person. They have a mix of regular and professional audience members.

What the hell is a "professional audience member"??

Re:Comedy (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827741)

Here's a whole article about it:

http://www.cracked.com/article_21432_6-realities-secret-world-paid-tv-audience-members.html

How does he (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47826849)

rationalize a smoking hot chick hanging out with nerds?

Re:How does he (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827115)

There will be an upcoming episode where they invent a time machine and go back and show her how fat she gets. She's just being proactive.

Re:How does he (-1, Flamebait)

sycodon (149926) | about 1 month ago | (#47827233)

Also...Are Penny's tits as big as they look?

Or, is it just T.V that makes them look big?

Re:How does he (1, Troll)

mschuyler (197441) | about 1 month ago | (#47827563)

Actually, she had them "augmented." She said it was the best thing she has ever done.

Re:How does he (2)

sh00z (206503) | about 1 month ago | (#47827571)

rationalize a smoking hot chick hanging out with nerds?

Apparently, you've missed the running gags in which this is explained. To provide her with free wi-fi, and to set up her printer.

Like others, I had hopes that this show would break down some stereotypes, but it just reinforces them for big laughs.

Re:How does he (0)

sexconker (1179573) | about 1 month ago | (#47827889)

rationalize a smoking hot chick hanging out with nerds?

Penny (Kaley Cuoco (spelling?)) hasn't been "smoking hot" for years.
I've never seen the appeal of the short, shrill one (Bernadette).

Re:How does he (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828071)

I've modded so posting Anon. Have to agree, mostly, with your sentiment. When you saw her in the first two seasons, yeah, cute and definitely hot. After that it appears all that money went to food as she definitely gained weight (sorry if that sounds harsh but there is a clear and distinct difference between those first two seasons and now).

However, I will say she started to look better during the last season or so. I say it that way because I gave up cable in July so won't be able to see her until I rent out the shows. In particular, the show where the guys were competing with the committee and she had on a black dress under her coat.

As to Bernadette, if you would see her off the show, she looks much better and sounds completely different. I think it's the outfits they have her wear that throws people off.

Like xkcd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47826879)

...BBT is a fun show, but it's not really "for scientists", most "for science-fans". There's nothing particularly sophisticated or obscure about the humour in either - the majority of people I know who watch BBT are linguists, liberal artists, etc., or in fields allied to science such as practical medicine.

This isn't a criticism - I personally enjoy BBT, although I find xkcd too lacking in humour to bother following since around strip six-hundred-and-something - just a warning against the minority of readers/watchers of entertainment productions like these who think that there's something intelligent about the content featured.

Popularity (2)

korbulon (2792438) | about 1 month ago | (#47826885)

Why do you think a show like BBT has been such a huge hit with a wide audience given its geeky characters and plot devices?

Re:Popularity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827237)

Simple: Kaley Cuoco.

Re:Popularity (0)

Tukz (664339) | about 1 month ago | (#47827527)

Actually, I watch it despite her.
She' highly overrated and her acting is barely mediocre.

I like the show for the references and general "sciency" humour.

Re:Popularity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827247)

His answer will consist of two parts.
Part 1: The show is written for the general public, all references are sounding geek, but are so that almost everyone has heard of the subject.
Part 2: Geeks are becoming more accepted and intertwined with the general culture partly because of an increased usage of the internet, computers, and high tech gadgets.

Re: Popularity (1, Troll)

arielCo (995647) | about 1 month ago | (#47827557)

Same reason why minstrel shows were popular with white audiences: it takes the stereotypes and shortcomings surrounding group X and exaggerates them; non-Xs find it funny.

Are you a "geek"? (5, Interesting)

krygny (473134) | about 1 month ago | (#47826903)

... meaning, do you also provide input on some of the pop-culture in the show (e.g., Star Trek, Star Wars, comic books, Dr Who, etc.)?

Too much pop-culture (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827191)

Pop-culture humor is lazy writing. Why isn't there more science? The last blog date was November. The BBT is as much about science as the Simpsons [lghs.net] .

Re:Too much pop-culture (-1, Troll)

sycodon (149926) | about 1 month ago | (#47827261)

BBT is about Penny's tits, plain and simple. If not for her and her frequent bra-less scenes, the show would be a failure.

Re:Too much pop-culture (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 1 month ago | (#47827723)

I'm not touching you keyboard because I know where it's been.

Re:Too much pop-culture (0)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 1 month ago | (#47827761)

Maybe you just know different types people than I do, but I very seldom find men that would take the time to watch something just to see a pretty woman. If men want to see pictures of women, they'll go looking specifically for pictures of women. They won't try to catch a glimpse of a good shot that may be in a TV show. As far as my experiences go, women are far more likely to watch a show or see a movie simply because a certain actor is in the movie.

Actual dialog or just another video? (0)

macraig (621737) | about 1 month ago | (#47826905)

Ask David Saltzberg About Being The Big Bang Theory's Science Advisor

So will the result be that there's no actual dialog, no direct responses from Saltzberg to questions that people took the time to pose, and just another talking-head video like we first had with Lawrence Lessig? Or will it respect the cooperative process of the traditional Q&A posts where the subject is actually engaged?

Why do you participate? (1, Troll)

StikyPad (445176) | about 1 month ago | (#47827031)

Let's be honest -- the Big Bang Theory isn't about laughing with nerds; it's about laughing at nerds.

Re:Why do you participate? (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 1 month ago | (#47827331)

As long as we're being honest: my friends and I think it's hilarious. We've all been Leonard, probably too often for comfort, and we all have at least one friend from the rest of the gang. They talk about stuff we enjoy and do things (we would hate to admit that) we do. It's not Fine Art, sure, but it's fun.

Even though the show is basically about me and my friends (and apparently you and your friends, too), I never felt like it was making fun of me.

Re: Why do you participate? (1, Interesting)

StikyPad (445176) | about 1 month ago | (#47827579)

I actually can't relate to the characters at all. I'm all for self-deprecating humor (unless it's fishing for compliments under the guise of humor), but the show isn't about nerds laughing at themselves; it's about non-nerds laughing at nerds, and nerds not "getting" what's so funny.

A show like Futurama or even Silicon Valley is more for nerds, and doesn't apologize for making jokes that most people won't actually get. They laugh at themselves as well. Although Silicon Valley is only moderately funny, IMO, it's still better done.

Re: Why do you participate? (1, Troll)

rikkards (98006) | about 1 month ago | (#47827667)

This, it's essentially nerd blackface.

Re:Why do you participate? (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 1 month ago | (#47827767)

And when the show makes fun of Penny's lack of knowledge, supposed promiscuity, and financial issues (due to her choice of the acting profession), are we laughing at nerds? The show makes fun of the characters more than anything else. Like when Penny was making fun of Leonard for being a cry baby during Toy Story 3. "The toys were holding hands in a furnace!" was his retort. When I went to see it in the theaters, there was audible sobbing during that scene.

Geeks AND Nerds (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827063)

Why are characters that are supposedly very intelligent so obsessed with fiction, specifically superheroes?

Re:Geeks AND Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827845)

Why do you think being intelligent means you can't be obsessed with fiction? Is there something wrong with liking fiction?

Re:Geeks AND Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828139)

Is there something wrong with liking fiction?

Superhero fiction (err we're just talking about superhero comics) in the way it is portrayed in the show by adults that are what ... in their early/mid thirties?

Yes.

Don't try to equate superhero comics with all literary fiction. It really isn't.

Re:Geeks AND Nerds (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 1 month ago | (#47828095)

You have to watch the show since Sheldon explains why in one of the episodes.

Geeks AND Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828117)

I want to know why no one has let loose on Sheldon. Im sure we have all had times where he was just being to much of a dick and you wanted to beat the crap out of him. Plus, why cant he do anything for himself like cook or make his own tea? lil wimp

Realistic Academics (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827085)

Why don't we see graduate students, classes, grading, theses and the trappings of an academic life? And, what's with the episode on tenure?

Beyond the Big Bang (2, Interesting)

business_kid (973043) | about 1 month ago | (#47827089)

At the moment before the Big Bang, science doesn't claim to know what was happening. There was no observable universe, except possibly for a massive singularity, which gravity would lock together with unimaginable force. Do you feel the subsequent events were caused by something, or Someone? If so, what or who?

Beyond the Big Bang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828273)

I think Leonard did it

What would they NOT let you do? (5, Interesting)

Higaran (835598) | about 1 month ago | (#47827095)

Was there anything that you tried to put in the show they they told you wouldn't be put in because it was to complex, or for some other reason. I know there is a lot of stuff that made it in, but what didn't get in there that you tried for?

Science Advisor, Comedy Advisor (1, Troll)

Kenshin (43036) | about 1 month ago | (#47827097)

They've hired a science advisor, but why haven't they hired a comedy advisor?

Re:Science Advisor, Comedy Advisor (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 1 month ago | (#47827185)

It takes only one smart guy to keep the science right, it takes a team to do comedy right. Comedy is harder than science... I know that because I've been here long enough. (Wait, does my username still make sense?)

Re:Science Advisor, Comedy Advisor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828175)

buh-boom! He's here all week folks :)

Nothing new. (1)

blueshift_1 (3692407) | about 1 month ago | (#47827183)

While it's nice to know that some look is going to many of principles they present in background and make not-so clever allusions to, BBT is just the standard sitcom formula with a different wrapping. Nothing really new or exciting.

Atoms (1)

business_kid (973043) | about 1 month ago | (#47827209)

As far as my science takes me, no atomic structures or charges would survive being crushed in a singularity. How come our universe has so many neatly constructed atoms with positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons spinning around each other?

Atoms and beyond the big bang explained (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827925)

As far as my science takes me, no atomic structures or charges would survive being crushed in a singularity. How come our universe has so many neatly constructed atoms with positively charged protons and negatively charged electrons spinning around each other?

At the moment before the Big Bang, science doesn't claim to know what was happening. There was no observable universe, except possibly for a massive singularity, which gravity would lock together with unimaginable force. Do you feel the subsequent events were caused by something, or Someone? If so, what or who?

Because that's the Flying Spaghetti Monster, all hail his Noodly Appendages, (or substitute your favorite Deity) wanted it.

Seriously there are theories as to the condition of the Universe before the Big Bang, but as they are not falsifiable, I'm not sure how much superior they are to a Flying Spaghetti Monster (or whatever) creator. I suppose, though, these theories may have the advantage of not being extensible, AFAIK, to call for murder, genocide, and torture on the promise of 99 virgins in an afterlife.

Laugh Track (1)

h4x0t (1245872) | about 1 month ago | (#47827223)

Do you have the influence enough to get the laugh track removed. It, among other things, makes the show unwatchable to me.

Re:Laugh Track (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827781)

There's no laugh track, it's real people. Real people who are paid to laugh.

Iinput (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827273)

Occasionally, the characters mention things that I haven't heard since school. I mean it's something you'd only see in one of Hawking's, Greene's, or Tyson's books for the lay reader.

How much input to the writers are you giving? Or are some of the writers ex-physics majors?

ERROR: Please input the proper trademark! (1)

The New Guy 2.0 (3497907) | about 1 month ago | (#47827275)

Uhm... you're trying to do The Slashdot Interview without mentioning that phrase in the story. Taco, please send a memo to the editors.

Glaring Mistakes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827327)

Channeling the character of Sheldon for a moment, how do you live with yourself when glaring mistakes slip through? For instance in the episode "The Pancake Batter Anomaly" the following dialogue is exchanged:

Leonard: Alright, well, get some rest and drink plenty of fluids!
Sheldon: What else would I drink? Gasses? Solids? Ionized plasma?

Doctor Sheldon Cooper would obviously know that both gasses and ionized plasmas are fluids and this exchange does nothing but casts doubt on the integrity of the entire episode.

Re:Glaring Mistakes (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 1 month ago | (#47827377)

Exactly. Most of the real science they show is wrong. It might be 90% right, but that 10% wrong trumps the bits that are right. It must be agonizing to see them get so close, and then fail. And then people blame the advisor.

propagating stereotypes (2, Interesting)

the gnat (153162) | about 1 month ago | (#47827349)

Does it ever bother you that you're contributing to a show that derives most of its jokes from the stereotype of scientists (especially male scientists) as pathologically awkward, abrasive, and antisocial? Do you ever worry that this risks marginalizing the profession and perpetuating the already-poor representation of women in science? How do you think a teenage girl will react to a sitcom where the one "normal" woman is a waitress, and the female scientists are mousy, nerdy, nearsighted, almost as awkward as their male companions, and, worst of all, dating complete dorks?

(From the perspective of the nerdy teenage guy, of course, the message is "you can be an abrasive, antisocial geek and still score a relatively attractive nerdy girl, or if you're slightly less antisocial, a total babe." So at least it's not scaring away future male scientists.)

Re:propagating stereotypes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828341)

Does it matter what the average teenage girl thinks? By the definition of average, they're not going to enroll in a PhD program. For those teenage girls who might, "normal" doesn't matter too much. And the intelligent females in the show aren't that awkward. Take for instance Leslie Winkle, who's portrayed as on-par with Sheldon (i.e. smarter than the rest of the gang), yet extrovert and confident.

did you find this much romance in grad school? (3, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | about 1 month ago | (#47827381)

Even though the charcters are awkward, they seem to have much more lively social lives than when I was in grad school. The students were almost all male then.

Re:did you find this much romance in grad school? (3, Informative)

Aboroth (1841308) | about 1 month ago | (#47827695)

They aren't in grad school, they are researchers at a university. 3 of them have PhDs, the other has a Masters, and he's made fun of constantly for it.

Do all geeks hate the show? (4, Interesting)

chubs (2470996) | about 1 month ago | (#47827413)

A lot of the comments/questions I've read so far are from geeks who seem to feel that BBT perpetuates stereotypes about geeks and does more harm than good to the geek community. Outside of slashdot, do you typically get this kind of response (where non-geeks think it's funny and geeks think it's somehow offensive)? For the record, I consider myself to be a geek and I really enjoy BBT, though, as mentioned elsewhere, the humor is not nearly as intelligent as the show's characters are supposed to be. That's fine, though. Every once in a while it's fun to pick up a show where every average intelligence (and most sub-par intelligence) Americans will get every joke.

Pardon my grammer (1)

chubs (2470996) | about 1 month ago | (#47827437)

Pardon my grammer. I realize "every Americans" is incorrect and quite ironic in its placement in a sentence about the intelligence of average Americans.

It's about the sex (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827493)

I enjoy the show as well. Unfortunately, they mostly stay away from the science, and nearly every episode revolves around someone's effort to have sex. Do they do that on purpose or are the writers just sexually frustrated themselves? Speaking of which do the writers have any background in science, or do they just call in the science adviser every now and then to double check things?

Re:It's about the sex (2)

chubs (2470996) | about 1 month ago | (#47827565)

Speaking of which do the writers have any background in science, or do they just call in the science adviser every now and then to double check things?

A quick wikipedia search indicates that both the creators are TV people to the core, with no involvement in science. Chuck Lorre spent 2 years in college where he "majored in rock 'n' roll and pot and minored in LSD", but has no other academic credentials. Bill Prary's page does at least suggest he did some work on Star Trek: Voyager, but that's the only connection he has to the show's sci-fi loving characters.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

Are we being used, right now? (1)

destinyland (578448) | about 1 month ago | (#47827809)

This may be the only question that really needs to be answered. There's very strong feelings about "Big Bang Theory" -- some negative -- and for this to be a real conversation, it probably needs to be addressed in some way.

In fact, I'm curious what made Dr. Saltzberg come to Slashdot. Are the producers aware of a "geek backlash", and are they attempting to address it by sending their show's technical adviser to Slashdot? Are we secretly being monitored for a later article about how real geeks all love "Big Bang Theory" which will just cherry-pick anything vaguely positive that's said in this discussion? Maybe we need some more clarity about how this "Ask David Saltzberg" event come together...

Once we understand what's going on here, maybe then we can segue into examples of Dr. Saltzberg's input on the show -- and how its one true geek interacts with the rest of its production staff

Re:Do all geeks hate the show? (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | about 1 month ago | (#47828205)

I'm of the same opinion as you. I love the show and I was victim of some of these stereotypes portrayed on the show. The show helps display what nerds/geeks go through in real life. I think it does more good than harm. The reality is that we all somewhat grow out of it while still enjoying portion of what made us nerds/geeks in the first place.

Today nerds/geeks are not viewed the same way as before. They aren't picked on at school and they are rather a fairly large percentage of the student population. Fact is that lots of the people who picked on nerds/geeks now work for them.

I'm a nerd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827665)

And I've been one since before it was cool....I mean prior to the show.

Some help, please... (1)

twdorris (29395) | about 1 month ago | (#47827685)

How long does it take to travel 80 miles if you're going 80 mph? Surely someone with your math and science creds can finally give a definitive answer.

Re:Some help, please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828093)

Unspecified reference frame. Question invalid.

They have a science advisor? (-1, Troll)

caffeinated_bunsen (179721) | about 1 month ago | (#47827755)

Do the writers completely ignore you? Do the set dressers intentionally screw up your whiteboards? Or do you just suck at every part of this job?

Guest stars (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about 1 month ago | (#47827813)

There has been a very impressive list of tech or geek related guest star appearances on the show (Stan Lee, Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, ...).

Do you have any control over who guest appearances are written for?

Are there any tech related people who you would like to have on the show as a guest star, but have been unable to get?

Contract negotiations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827875)

Did your contract change when the majors got a bigger contract?

Ugh, not this show again (0)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 1 month ago | (#47827877)

Okay, let's set aside for just one brief moment that a goodly part of the science portrayed on the show is just plain wrong, and discuss instead what I think is a much more interesting topic: Trying to take a show that is centered around brilliant people and making it not only acceptable, but very funny to stupid people.

Don't you agree that it is an exercise in futility to make an attempt at incorporating low-brow, "everyman" humor into this show? Let's face it, nobody who is as smart as Sheldon or Leonard are would find any of the humor in the show consistent, let alone funny.

I recall one episode (forgive me for not remembering the title) where Leonard suggests that Sheldon drink plenty of fluids - maybe it was the one when Sheldon got sick right before the trip to Switzerland or something - but in any case his retort was something like "well what else would I drink? Maybe gasses or ionized plasma?"

Someone as smart as Sheldon, especially a theoretical physicist, knows that gasses and ionized plasmas ARE fluids - the obvious mistake here being to imply that the term "fluid" is interchangeable with the term "liquid," when it is not.

I've found the show to be chock full of these kinds of glaring inconsistencies and falsehoods. It leads me to believe that the show's writers either don't really listen to you, or go over the material and change it after you've edited it, or something else. Can you enlighten us?

Where are all the foreign scientists? (2)

mocm (141920) | about 1 month ago | (#47827881)

It used to be that most of the scientists from US universities I met at international physics conferences or summer schools were green card holders or recent immigrants. There were hardly any american born ones. Did that change in the last 20 years or does the show slightly misrepresent that ratio.
I am asking because in his way Sheldon reminds me of some Russian physicists I used to know.

No one knows everything, so... (4, Interesting)

MiniMike (234881) | about 1 month ago | (#47827917)

The show touches on a somewhat wide range of technology and culture. There must be science related questions that are outside your area of expertise. Who do you contact for advice when you need it?

How do you explain slashdot's reaction? (2)

mschuyler (197441) | about 1 month ago | (#47827923)

Although I realize you are a "physicist," not a "psychologist," it's still one of those "phy" type words. What do you think of Slashdot's (so far) overwhelmingly negative reaction to its editors asking for questions about the SCIENCE of the show for the show's SCIENCE ADVISOR and instead getting comments about the show's characterizations, humor, laugh track, and a fixation on the size of Kaley Cuoco's breasts? As the show's SCIENCE ADVISOR are you in a position to change or influence any of these "transgressions?"

Is this proof that the Geekdom of Slashdot is not capable of paying attention to the question at hand and has completely missed the point, were all forced to play the cello as kids, are letting their pent up emotions get in the way of asking an intelligent question and instead choose to lash out at a show they all watch, or still, after all these years, are incapable of getting laid? Or all of the above?

Why the awful portrayal of female scientists? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47827961)

There's either socially awkward pseudo-male types or ditzy uber-female types. It disappoints me to no end (as a socially cogent female scientist) and drives the next generation of girls out of science. I know you're not responsible for plot, but come on!

Re:Why the awful portrayal of female scientists? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 1 month ago | (#47828389)

You might have noticed that there is an inkling of playing on stereotypes in the show, not just with the women. It may be too subtle to catch on for most... if they're like Sheldon, that is.

What's your favorite line? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828109)

What's your favorite line? My favorite: Leanard kisses Penny and she says, "The cat's alive". Also, was that line meant to be a double-entendre or not?

XBOX One vs PS4 (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 1 month ago | (#47828135)

There's an exchange Sheldon hems and haws about the RAM - PS4's 8 GB GDDR5 vs XBOX One's 8 GB DDR3 + 32 MB eSRAM.
Everyone knows the 32 MB of eSRAM doesn't mean shit compared to the raw bandwidth advantage the PS4 has. Why was the 32 MB eSRAM considered a point for XBOX One? It would be like comparing a 2-legged runner to a 1-legged runner and saying "But the one legged runner does have a detachable peg leg.".

Forum choice? (1)

snsh (968808) | about 1 month ago | (#47828165)

Why are you posting an AMA on slashdot instead of reddit?

/. is better (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 1 month ago | (#47828397)

because this is a better moderated forum with less noise from dumb/troll/flamebait commentors

reddit is great because of the breadth and diversity of comments...but it is still the 'open internet'...AMA's are anarchy

also /. just has better commenters for tech stuff

again, reddit has diversity which /. is sorely lacking, and valleywag.com is 'faster' on a few things...but /. still has the best comments

best to see it as *more* options not a competition...reddit, slashdot, and for me valleywag all have value added...for questions to some famous person i trust /. to get it right more than the others

Books on various shelves... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47828203)

There is a partial list of books that are used as background props in Leonard's apartment (http://bigbangtheory.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_books_visible_on_shelves), but it is incomplete and only states what is available based on photographs that were pulled from the Internet from various site visits.

In the future, would you be willing to list all science-related books that have been used as background props throughout the various seasons including the various apartments and the offices at the university?

Thank you.

non-science questions (4, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 1 month ago | (#47828323)

Mr. Saltzberg, thanks for taking questions! It's much appreciated.

My question: Do the writers (or actors) ever ask you about your daily life or your experiences as a scientist? What non-scientific/factual input have they asked from you?

Dramatic plot vs. Scientifically accurate (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 1 month ago | (#47828353)

What was the hardest bit of scientific inaccuracy to fight, because the writers deemed it necessary to keep it "wrong"?

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