The nerd community has long assumed that the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory — which not-so-lovingly pokes fun at the tropes of fandom and at the fans themselves — added up to a whole lot of nothing but, as usual, it was up to SCIENCE to put that hypothesis to the test.
While claiming to actually, somehow be a fan of the show, Iowa State University researcher Paul Canfield wanted to pick apart the catch phrase of the program’s main space-case, Sheldon Cooper, by trying to synthesize it. As any frequently-beaten-up high school chemistry club kid will tell you through snickers, ordinary words can be made up of the symbols on the Periodic Table of Elements, if you look hard enough.
[W]hen a pronouncement was made that a BaZnGa compound may exist, it was our obligation to check it as part of the scientific method. There was no known ternary compound with barium, zinc and gallium. Wouldn’t that just be smashing if we could find one, and maybe it would have interesting properties.
As it turns out, though — BAZINGA! — it’s just as boring and and lame as The Big Bang Theory itself. BaZnGa just sits there without any novel reactions, much like anyone watching on the couch.
So unlike science fiction, which can actually inspire scientific breakthroughs, there doesn’t seem to be much value coming from … scientist fiction? Science fan-fiction? Buncha nimrods arguing over Thor’s hammer when they could be advancing particle physics.
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