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May 17, 2019

‘The Big Bang Theory’ takes math notes from Carl Pomerance

Posted by in categories: cosmology, information science, mathematics, quantum physics

A prime number theory equation by mathematics professor emeritus Carl Pomerance turned up on The Big Bang Theory, where it was scrawled on a white board in the background of the hit sitcom about a group of friends and roommates who are scientists, many of them physicists at the California Institute of Technology.

In a recent paper, “Proof of the Sheldon Conjecture,” Pomerance, the John G. Kemeny Parents Professor of Mathematics Emeritus, does the math on a claim by fictional quantum physicist Sheldon Cooper that 73 is “the best ” because of several . Pomerance’s proof shows that 73 is indeed unique.

The Big Bang Theory is known for dressing the set with “Easter eggs” to delight the self-avowed science nerds in the audience. When UCLA physics professor David Saltzberg, technical consultant for The Big Bang Theory, heard about the Sheldon proof, he contacted Pomerance to ask if they could use it in the show, which was broadcast April 18.

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