Cast & Crew Create ‘Big Bang’ Science Scholarship
How many of you have watched science-nerd sitcom The Big Bang Theory? If you have, then you’ll know that it centres around a bunch of stereotypical science academics, their careers, and their passions (which involves a lot of sci-fi, as you can imagine!).
The series has been running for eight seasons and has managed to make science fun and interesting for a lot of people. And what better to repay their loyal fans, in the same vein as the show, than to make it possible for future scientists to fulfil their dreams?
Around fifty people associated with the show have contributed to a scholarship fund to help low-income science students at UCLA, something they have been discussing setting something like this up for a couple of years. They realised that when the show first aired, freshmen in college would have only been about 10 years old, and would have grown up watching it.
In 2007, Mayim Bialik, who plays Amy Farrah Fowler on the show, earned her PhD in neuroscience at UCLA. And despite some of Big Bang being set in “rival” university Caltech, the team decided that UCLA was the more deserving choice.
Big Bang creator Chuck Lorre explained that UCLA had more of a need for the scholarship fund than Caltech. However, it’s possible that the team will be looking to extend the fund to other universities in and out of the state in the future.
“Unlike Caltech, which is a much smaller, private operation, UCLA has a need for rich scholarships for high-performing STEM students who financially are falling short for getting great education,” he explained.
The university has another tie-in with the show, other than Mayim Bialik’s doctorate, with David Saltzberg PhD. He’s a professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA, and also The Big Bang Theory‘s science consultant.
The scholarship fund, which is the first one created by a television show’s cast and crew for UCLA, will go towards students in science, maths, technology, and engineering.
As we said before, The Big Bang Theory has attracted a huge fan base, including some famous names – some of which have even graced the show with cameo roles.
Wil Wheaton, for example, is known for Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), but has a recurring role on the show, playing himself. Other sci-fi actors you might have spotted (or will want to keep a look out for) are Summer Glau, Katee Sackhoff, Nathan Fillion, George Takei, and Leonard Nimoy.
But if you’re more into the science-fact stuff, Professor Stephen Hawking makes a couple of appearances, as well as astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and Bill Nye the Science Guy. And this is just a small handful of big names to have appeared on the show!
As Mr Lorre pointed out, the show is enthusiastically supported by the science community, and the scholarship fund is an opportunity for those involved to give back to their supporters.
“Our Big Bang family has made a meaningful contribution,” he explained. “And, together, we’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists, and leaders.”
When the fund launches, there will be 20 students taking up scholarships for the 2015-16 academic year, who might not otherwise have been able to pursue their passion for a career in science.
These first 20 lucky scholars will be announced on the set of The Big Bang Theory later this year, in autumn. After that, another five students will be invited into the scholarship every year.