My first ever question on this site was shut down before I could answer apparent objections to it so I am posting my reply to the moderator here.

I discovered this site when I googled a question regarding the physics of chemistry this morning and was enjoying surfing the various questions and answers my question had sparked when it occurred to me this might be the group to answer a REAL question I had from watching the Big Bang Theory, which claims it tries to get its physics right.

My opinion of scientist and engineers has always been very high and although I know some to be humor and satire-challenged, I nevertheless thought my question could be considered at least fun to speculate about. Much as Trekkers debate the physics of that show (with more than one book written on the subject by physicist).

I am disappointed the reaction to my question was so instantly negative and, to a newbie non-scientist, kind of insulting.

Thank you for your explanation, Sir, and I understand the goal of your site. But come on, can you all lighten up just a little. Are you telling me none of you has ever challenge the science behind a movie or television show before?

Well, iIf anyone is willing to shake this up a bit, my question still hasn't been answered. Is Sheldon Cooper's physics cutting edge? Could his theories win a Nobel Prize?

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    $\begingroup$ From the 'about' page: "This site is all about getting answers. It's not a discussion forum. There's no chit-chat." physics.stackexchange.com/about $\endgroup$
    – Greg
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Tom. Welcome to Physics.SE. Firstly, please have a look at our Help center on how this site works. Second, once a moderator has closed a question, they leave comments. You can respond them by using @ followed by their name and don't post comments or messages as posts... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ You might find an appropriate sub-forum in physicsforums.com for your question. Here we do not display human weakness such as this "humour" of which you speak. (lol!) $\endgroup$
    – twistor59
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ OK. Second Question answered. No sense of humor allowed. Serious, serious science only. I understand your wanting this to be a place of serious discussion. It's your site. Sorry I peed in your pool. $\endgroup$
    – user25812
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ Also, no, Sheldon wouldn't get the prize. To get a Nobel you need to be completely crazy. And Sheldon isn't -- his mother had him tested :P $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ Manishearth - THANK YOU! Just one type of answer I was hoping for! But I REALLY do want to know if his theories about magnetic monopoles, etc., are unique and accurate enough to lead to a NP. Or his theory on "Magnets. What the stick to," from kindergarten. $\endgroup$
    – user25812
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 19:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Tom a sense of humour is very much appropriated in this site. However questions that are purely intended for their humourous content defeats the purpose of this site. Sorry about a rather cold welcome from PSE, I hope that wont prevent you from being a part of this site. $\endgroup$
    – Prathyush
    Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ Prathyush: I appreciate the rapprochement. And it was a serious question but about a completely inconsequential topic. The writers of the show have a physicist on retainer to help them get the physics right. So I was just wondering aloud if his search for magnetic monopoles is a potentially important subject in real world theoretical physics. 'Nuff said. $\endgroup$
    – user25812
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 5:02
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    $\begingroup$ @tom If sheldon actually found magnetic monopoles in his north pole expedition then it was a definite nobel prize. Unfortunately for him, his data was destroyed by magnetic interference caused the other 3. $\endgroup$
    – Prathyush
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 5:12
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    $\begingroup$ At one point on the show, as I recall, Sheldon mentioned his interest in string-net condensates. This is a beautiful and fascinating topic pioneered by an occasional PSE user, Xiao-Gang Wen. I would not be upset if Prof. Wen were to win the prize, but Sheldon might have to wait. :) $\endgroup$
    – wsc
    Commented Jun 15, 2013 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Manishearth - I am completely crazy - I teach in a high school and study a PhD full time... so do I get the prize? .... What prize is this anyway? $\endgroup$
    – user24901
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ @ϚѓăʑɏβµԂԃϔ Second, once a moderator has closed a question, they leave comments. You mean like here physics.stackexchange.com/q/68176 $\endgroup$
    – user11151
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 7:40

1 Answer 1


It's not that the users of this site are humor and satire challenged. Most of us enjoy humor just as much as the next guy. In fact, I watch TBBT myself, and enjoy it.

Thing is, the Q&A portion of the site is meant for serious physics. "Fun" questions are OK, but they need to still be about physics. Your question was asking for an opinion of whether or not a scientist (of whom we know very little when it comes to his research) would win the Nobel prize. Three problems with it:

  • It's opinion-based; such questions are disallowed more or less network wide.
  • We don't really know much about Sheldon, so there's no way to really form an informed opinion on this
  • The requirements for Nobel prizes aren't on topic here (we deal with the concepts of physics)

If a TV show ever talked about correct physics (or partially correct physics), a question about that would be welcome.

There's nothing against humor here either, just that it's very hard to write a humorous but valid question on physics.

You're welcome to discuss such things in chat though.


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