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Why Jim Parsons Cried When Explaining Schrödinger's Cat During The Table Read Of The Big Bang Theory

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It's been a few years since CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" aired the series finale, leaving fans searching aimlessly for a new combination of situation-comedy and science. The series, which followed the lives of brilliant physicist-roommates, expanded (much like a specific universe-creation theory) over 12 seasons. However, close to the beginning of the show's impressive run, Hollywood experienced a writers' strike, halting the initial momentum. For a brutal period, all departments of the entire entertainment industry had no choice but to wait for a resolution before getting back to work. 

During the last quarter of 2006, stretching for 14 weeks, most TV and film productions shut down due to the Writers Union (WGA) strike. As the dawn of internet streaming was upon them, union members sought new-media deals since studio profits were not reflected in the contracts they were working off of. When everything was finally settled (with the writers scoring a victory), shows like "The Big Bang Theory" returned to work. Shortly after, costar Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper, found himself back in the writer's room, table-reading a script. The episode they were working on mentions a particular 1935 scientific experiment that had the multi-award-winning actor moved to tears.

It was the brilliance of the writers that brought Parsons to tears

When the 2006 strike was over, Jim Parsons found himself reading a script in preparation for filming. In Season 1, Episode 17 ("The Tangerine Factor"), the subject of the Schrödinger's cat experiment comes up. Parsons explains in the book "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series" that, for him, this very moment brought on a ton of emotion.

NatureNoon simplifies the explanation of the experiment, known as "Schrödinger's Cat." It boils down to that; theoretically, if a cat is put into a sealed box for one hour with a deadly poison inside (that has a 50% chance of being released during that time) until the result is observed, the cat is both alive and dead simultaneously. Sheldon compares this experiment to Penny's (Kaley Cuoco) dilemma of deciding whether or not she should go out on a date with Leonard (Johnny Galecki). Sheldon summarizes his comparison to the experiment with the line, "It is only by opening up the box that you'll find out which it is."

In the book, Parsons explains that his emotional reaction at the table read was based on his gratitude for being back on an incredible show and working with such intelligent people. He recalls, "You felt the inspiration when you read it, and it just was too much for me at that moment." Parsons wasn't alone in interpreting this incident. Costar Kunal Nayyar, who played Raj, remembers, "It wasn't like, 'Oh, my God, there's someone crying.' Instead, it was like, 'I feel you. I feel everything you've been through. I get it.'"