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2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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The Big Bang Theory Effect Conjecture
  Location: SS Ballroom ABC
  Date: Tuesday, Aug.2
  Time: 9:30 AM -10:00 AM
  Author: Jacob Clark Blickenstaff,
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: It could be argued that physics and physicists have not had such popular exemplars as Sheldon and Leonard (the main characters on CBS' Big Bang Theory) since the death of Albert Einstein. Dr. David Salzberg consults on the physics shown on white boards in the show so that material is trustworthy. But how "true" is the representation of physics and physicists that Sheldon and Leonard present to the general public on television every week? How about the female scientists who show up in recurring (though generally not starring) roles? Does it really matter if a TV comedy re-enforces stereotypes about science and scientists? What effect could this show have on students? Interest in learning physics in high school or college? As a physics educator I am concerned that this show and others like it will exacerbate the trend of undergraduates moving away from the physics major.
  Footnotes: None
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