Sheldon and Leonard’s Whiteboards on ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Contained Real Science Data

The Big Bang Theory was a near-instant hit when it premiered in 2007. Twelve years later, it went off the air. Fans can still relive the antics of Sheldon Cooper, Leonard Hofstadter, Raj Koothrappali, and Howard Wolowitz in reruns. During your next binge-watch, take a look at Sheldon and Leonard’s famous whiteboards. Apparently, they weren’t just doodles. The boards contained actual scientific research, according to the shows science consultant. 

Sheldon and Leonard’s whiteboard data and equations were sourced from real scientists 

David Saltzberg served as a science consultant for The Big Bang Theory for several seasons. In an interview with Science, he shared some interesting, behind-the-scenes facts about the series. He revealed that the whiteboards that were often featured in the series weren’t just for decoration. They helped the show connect to the current world of science and research. 

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper stands next to his whiteboard
Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Michael Yarish/CBS via Getty Images

RELATED: Mayim Bialik’s Ph.D. Actually Helped Shape ‘The Big Bang Theory’

According to Saltzberg, after a few seasons, scientists began submitting their own research to be featured on the boards. Even if they were just in the background, the data that was seen on those whiteboards were real equations and theories. Saltzberg said, “The whiteboards the characters use for equations have actually changed into something where real scientists pitch me their latest results and ask if they can appear on them. It’s sort of become a thing to get on the whiteboards. Dozens of scientists are watching those boards.”

Big discoveries in science were covered in The Big Bang Theory 

The whiteboards that appear on the show aren’t just a fun Easter egg for science-obsessed fans, though. They actually help the show feel more real. Saltzberg pointed out that the writers included some timely scientific discoveries during the show’s run. In one episode, the data that discovered gravitational waves was featured. The information appeared on Stephen Hawking’s whiteboard. 

Johnny Galekcki as Leonard Hofstadter and Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper stand in their kitchen
Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

Saltzberg said the inclusion of the data made the show feel more real. He told Science, “I think it adds to the reality. I’m not a writer, but when I listen to writers, they talk a lot about creating a world that’s believable, and people getting drawn into the story. And I think the more real things are, the more you can do that.” 

The Big Bang Theory didn’t get everything right, though

While the show’s writers were very careful when it came to using accurate science facts, they weren’t as careful with other subjects. CBR points out that Sheldon was wrong about the note that a wine glass is in when struck with a fork. Sheldon once claimed the sound was a B-flat. The actual note a wine glass makes during a toast is a B. 

The cast of 'The Big Bang Theory' enjoys a meal in Leonard and Sheldon's living room
The cast of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ | Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

RELATED: ‘The Big Bang Theory’: There Is a Lot of Mystery Surrounding the Elevator

The show also had several plot holes. Penny, for example, never had a last name. The elevator explosion timing remains a mystery, and Sheldon’s allergy to cats may or may not exist.