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Is The Big Bang Theory And Young Sheldon Star Jim Parsons A Scientist In Real Life?

Jim Parsons became a sensation after "The Big Bang Theory." With four Emmys under his belt for playing Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Parsons has entered the pantheon of memorable TV stars. The CBS series first debuted in 2007 and ran for 12 seasons, with the finale receiving over 23 million views in 2019 (via Deadline). During that time, audiences got to see the socially awkward, irreverent, and selfish Sheldon grow in his career as a theoretical physicist, step out of his comfort zone, and learn the value of friendship.

This was no small task, but Parsons excelled in expanding Sheldon's worldview, providing audiences with a satisfying arc. Over the course of those 12 years, Parsons also rubbed shoulders with heavyweight scientists like Stephen Hawking, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye. Seeing as the actor spent so much time bringing Sheldon to life, it's worth asking how familiar he is with the science.

Jim Parsons is not a scientist like Sheldon Cooper

It'd be easy to believe that Jim Parsons had been plucked from a local university's research department and placed on the set of "The Big Bang Theory." Parsons effortlessly slipped into the role, and some viewers might even have difficulty separating the character from the actor. Despite how competent he is at reciting scientific jargon, Parsons is not a theoretical physicist or a Ph.D. holder like his on-screen counterpart.

While speaking on NPR's "Fresh Air," Parsons made it clear that he's just an actor reading lines, trying his best to do justice to the scientific content. "I really just [run] rampant around my apartment saying these words, this dialogue over and over," the actor discussed. "Because I thought 'I need to be able to trust myself to have these words come out.'"

As noted by Live Science, "The Big Bang Theory" tries its absolute best to get the science right, especially when specific fields like physics are involved. While continuing his chat with "Fresh Air," Parsons shed light on physicist David Saltzberg, who acts as a consultant on the series. "He not only fact-checks, but he supplies a great deal of [the material]. We need Sheldon to talk about something ... and [Saltzberg will] come up with something," the actor noted. Parsons also mentioned how Saltzberg will send over jokes that pertain to the science as well, ending with, "I don't know what the heck he's talking about."