Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper was right again
Unbelievable: A remark by the “Big Bang Theory” genius Sheldon Cooper led to a mathematical breakthrough in science.
We all love Sheldon Cooper, the genius from Big Bang Theory with all his quirks and quirks. Episode after episode, he throws in scientific fun facts so you can still learn something as a viewer. Now a statement of the cult figure is supposed to have led to a mathematical breakthrough.
Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper’s statement hits the mathematical bullseye
In episode 73 of the popular sitcom “Big Bang Theory”, Sheldon Cooper answers his own question about what the best number is with: “It’s 73. 73 is the 21st prime number, its mirror number – the 37th – is the 12th, and its mirror number, the 21, is the product of multiplying – hold on: 7 and 3.
The American series around the 4 nerdy scientists has always shone with scientifically well-researched facts and statements. So Sheldon’s statement is true. Mathematicians have asked themselves the question whether there are more such “perfect” prime numbers that also meet all these criteria.
The “Sheldon Prime Number”
Carl Pomerance of Dartmouth College and Christopher Spicer of Morningside College pursued the question. They christened the 73, with all its attributes, the “Sheldon prime”. In their first step, they found out that there was no such prime number among the first 10 million primes.
In mathematics, however, this was not enough, the proof was still missing. This followed a few years later with the help of modern technology and computer algorithms. Step by step, the two scientists used software to exclude prime numbers one by one. Until only 73 remained between the numbers 2 and 10 45. In their article “Proof Of Sheldon Conjecture” the two prove that there is only this one “Sheldon prime number”.
Fun Fact:Did you know that Volkswagen named its educational institution “Faculty 73” to honor the “Sheldon Prime Number”?
Sheldon Cooper explains the “Sheldon prime”
Who is the genius behind Sheldon Cooper?
Of course, behind all the scientific formulas and statements in “Big Bang Theory” is a real scientist, namely the astrophysicist David Salzberg. He works closely with the screenwriters to ensure that all the formulas and facts in the show are truthful.
But when he had interspersed the “73”, didn’t he already know about the mathematical curiosity about the number? Yes and no. Up to now he had known about the uniqueness of the 73, but he had never calculated whether there were more of these numbers.
In a later episode David Salzberg pays tribute to the two researchers of the “Sheldon prime number” by hiding their calculations in a scene.
Conclusion: Sometimes television makes you smarter
We can all still learn from Sheldon Cooper! One more reason to take a closer look at the old episodes of The Big Bang Theory. Who knows, maybe there are more references to mathematical approaches in them.
By the way, “The Big Bang Theory” will enter its final round in 2019. Seasons 1-11 you can watch it right now at Netflix and Amazon-Prime. And those seven facts about Stephen Hawkins would also delight Sheldon.