TV show stars start fundraiser for young scientists. We need more people like them.
Popular situational comedy TV show “The Big Bang Theory“ explores the life and times and trials and tribulations of 4 young researchers. This time the cast raises funds for their muse, the actual young scientists who come from low income backgrounds, at the University of California Los Angeles.
1 The Heartwarming Comedy that is the Big Bang Theory (intro)
“The Big Bang Theory” may have started as “the other show” from the brains behind “Two and a Half Men,” Chuck Lorre, but since then on it has reached its 8th season finale and has an army of fans rooting for its pedantic, obsessive-compulsively goofy protagonist, Sheldon Cooper, who is a genius of towering proportions, his slightly more level-headed roommate Leonard Hofstadter and the latter’s fiancé, former neighbor, the audience’ heartthrob, Penny. Other supporting cast members include Indian astrophysicist Rajesh, his best friend, the voyeuristic Howard and his pint-sized wife Bernadette, and Sheldon’s socially invisible beau Amy. The catch is that the four friends who are research colleagues, all have PhD’s except for Howard who is an astronaut stuck with a Master’s degree in Engineering. The show’s primary tie up with UCLA is Amy, the character played by Mayim Bialik, who happens to be a research scholar at the UCLA.
This time around the show that has been touted as one of the best situational comedies, on air, and of all times, wins hearts by starting a fund that seeks to benefit UCLA students who come from low-income backgrounds and have problems paying bills for their tuition at the UCLA. “The Big Bang Theory” which follows the tribulations of Sheldon and Leonard as they wade through a life where they fit in a socially awkward fashion; while one only dreams of becoming a world renowned physicist and overcoming the inability to detect sarcasm, the latter is more intent on winning it one day at a time with his love Penny, at his side. The two, along with friends Howard and Raj and other characters, always land in trouble that comically spins out of their grasp!
2 The sitcom crew accumulated massive funds
“The Big Bang Theory” also let it slip beautifully as a part of the show’s story, that having a brilliant brain is not equivalent to swimming in the riches! They made us follow the central characters through their trials and tribulations as they often complained about being stuck in a middle class rut that impedes their dreams. To this effect, the actors have tried making changes to real lives of real scientists by starting a fund that acts as scholarship money for 20 lucky individuals at the UCLA, for the year 2015-16. The scholarship then plans to add 5 more slots to its list every year so as to benefit more and more students whose career goals maybe hindered due to shortage of funds for college tuition. If you are a parent you are unsure if your child would be able to get a scholarship although some of you may wish that would be possible, you could also look into ways of saving for your child so they can afford college when they are ready to attend.
3 How the funding works
Titled as “The Big Bang Theory” scholarship endowment, the scholarship seeks to inspire more and more students at the University of California Los Angeles that they have their aspirations to pursue technology, engineering or mathematics can be fruitful; that finance should not be a problem if they hit their books hard enough. The fund seeks to fulfill its aim of raising a whopping 4.2 billion USD by 2019 to help undergraduates remain on their desired career trajectory. The fund has been contributed to by a host of big names including the cast and crew of “The Big Bang Theory” itself, Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper), Johnny Galecki (Leonard Hofstadter), Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting (Penny),Simon Helberg (Howard), Kunal Nayyar (Rajesh), Mayim Bialik (Amy) and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette).
The funding is for students who have gained admission to UCLA based on their merit but require further financial aid in order to pay their fees for the academic year and other attendance costs. Apparently, almost 52% of the university’s undergraduates are aided by one scholarship or grant, or the other; this constitutes for 36% of the university’s undergraduates who are direct recipients of grants because they come from low-income families. Statistics also state that 1/3rd of the university’s undergraduates come from parents who have never finished college for that matter, thus fuelling the direness of this fund.
4 The sitcoms and its tie-ins with the UCLA
Though the show is primarily based in Caltech, where the four lead actors in the show work, a rival institute of UCLA, the show also has a cast member in Mayim Biyalik (Amy) whose reel life character is an employee of UCLA. Already having amassed a sweet sum of 4 million USD, with sizeable contributions from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation, and another 50 other individuals associated with the show, including the cast members, the act has brought the show closer to the hearts of its viewers, especially college going viewers some of whom are in the same field as their favorite “The Big Bang Theory” characters, or may have been inspired by them.
The show has long shared a jovial relation with the science community in that it was also aided by David Saltzberg, a UCLA professor in the fields of physics and astronomy, who guided the crew in terms of feasibility of the scientific concepts and terminology applied in the show’s storytelling. This marks the first time a TV show has come to the aid of a university, let alone UCLA, teaming up for the benefit of the society’s bright young-guns.
5 The fund is aimed at
The fund is looking to accumulate the goal amount of 4.2 billion USD by 2019, the year of the University’s 100th Anniversary. It aims to help a diverse array of students who are the most dedicated undergraduates in their respective field, belonging to various backgrounds. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block has expressed his gratitude for the fact that the cast and crew of “The Big Bang Theory” share, that “Economic standing should not hinder a deserving student’s shot at a degree from a university of UCLA’s caliber”.
“The Big Bang Theory” creator Chuck Lorre believes this is a golden opportunity for the show to give back to the science community that the show has built its central premise on. The show has catered to its audience by featuring noted names from the contemporary science world such as Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson in cameo appearances. This time around Chuck Lorre wants the show to make a meaningful contribution in return, to the science community, by realizing the dreams of aspiring scientists who are competing so hard to find footing in a platform that requires massive financial backing as well, an unfair benchmark for such aspiring brilliant minds from difficult, diverse backgrounds.