According to a recent article in The Guardian, there has been a significant boom in interest in physics in the past two years. The article discusses a number of possible reasons for the increase in interest, but the most unusual reason mentioned may surprise you:The Big Bang Theory, a California-based comedy that follows two young physicists, is being credited with consolidating the growing appetite among teenagers for the once unfashionable subject of physics.
Enrollment in university-level physics courses has increased 10% and 17% in the last two years, respectively, and high-school level enrollment has increased 20% in the last five years. That’s many orders of magnitude less than the expansion rate theorized during the inflation period after the real Big Bang, but still encouraging to see....
Set in Pasadena, California, the show is centered around five characters: two roommate Caltech geniuses, experimental physicist Leonard Hofstadter and theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper; their neighbor across the hall Penny, an attractive blonde waitress and aspiring actress; and Leonard's and Sheldon's equally geeky and socially awkward co-workers and friends Howard Wolowitz, an Aerospace engineer and a non-PhD from JPL, and Rajesh Koothrappali, a particle astrophysicist postdoc also working at Caltech. The geekiness and intellect of the four guys are contrasted for comic effect with Penny's social skills and common sense.
If you watch The Big Bang Theory regularly, and even if you only tune in now and then, you may recall the first episode in which Wil Wheaton appeared playing an “evil” version of himself. The plot in that episode revolved around a fictional Magic: The Gathering-esque card game called “The Mystic Warlords of Ka’a,” which was the focus of a confrontation between Evil Wil Wheaton and the show’s regular character Sheldon Cooper....
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