The Big Bang Theory is controversial in the nerd community — its characters are sometimes seen as caricatures of geeks rather than portraits. But one enduring aspect of the show that shouldn’t be controversial is its commitment to the front-and-center portrayal of science.
Today, The Big Bang Theory made good on that commitment, announcing that the show’s stars, producers, crew, and distributors have created an over 4-million dollar scholarship programed in order to help get kids into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields at California’s UCLA.
The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, Warner Bros. Television, CBS, and 50+ individuals working on the show — including its stars — raised the 4-million dollar scholarship, named The Big Bang Theory Scholarship and Endowment.
“We have all been given a gift with The Big Bang Theory, a show that’s not only based in the scientific community, but also enthusiastically supported by that same community — this is our opportunity to give back,” said co-creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre. “In that spirit, our Big Bang family has made a meaningful contribution, and together, we’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists and leaders.”
Starting with UCLA’s 2015–16 academic year, 20 students will be selected to receive financial assistance. The lucky few who become Big Bang Theory scholars with be announced on the set of the show this fall.
Any why UCLA? Show star Mayim Bialik got her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the university, while the show’s science consultant, David Saltzberg, Ph.D., is also a professor of physics and astronomy at UCLA. After the 2015–16 academic year, five more scholars will be added each year “in perpetuity.”
Even if The Big Bang Theory doesn’t get nerds exactly right, it certainly gets right the importance of science, reason, and STEM careers in society.
IMAGE: Sonja Flemming/CBS