Big Bang Theory science advisor plays prank on students at sitcom filming

When geeks play practical jokes don't expect whoopee cushions...

Big Bang Theory science advisor plays prank on students at sitcom filming
Written By
Paul Jones

For most people, the phrase “practical joke” probably conjours up images of whoopee cushions or the old bucket-of-water-on-top-of-the-door gag – but when you get physicists involved, the whole thing can become a lot more highbrow...

As science advisor on geek-powered US sitcom The Big Bang Theory, David Saltzberg is responsible for filling in the gaps when the script says “here comes the science part”, and for providing the various equations Sheldon Cooper and his friends are seen working on in the show.

Saltzberg’s day job is as professor of astrophysics at UCLA, so as a post-exam treat he took his class of physics undergraduates to see Big Bang being filmed. What he didn’t tell them was that the various whiteboards dotted around the set contained the solutions to the very mathematical puzzles they’d just answered. Apparently, it was a long time before any of them noticed...

Ok, so it might not be as immediate as a fart bomb but not all humour has to be laugh-out-loud, right?

Saltzberg's students aren't the only guests he takes on set. His so-called Geek of the Week allocation has included Nobel Prize winners and a fellow TV science advisor from chemistry-teacher-turned-drug-dealer drama Breaking Bad.

“Most recently, we had the science consultant from Breaking Bad, Dr Donna Nelson from the University of Oklahoma,” Saltzberg told Deadline. “I was really loving the way they were getting the science right in Breaking Bad, so I invited her out.”

If Sheldon, Leonard, Howard or Raj start going off the rails any time soon and cooking up batches of crystal meth, we'll know exactly who to blame...

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