'Big Bang' actress has Ph. D. in neuroscience

Mayim Bialik has a doctorate in neuroscience. So, when she was approached to play socially stunted scientist Amy on “The Big Bang Theory,” she had inspiration to pull from.

“In academia, I’ve been to a lot of awkward cocktail parties,” Bialik says.

Amy, the psuedo-love interest for Jim Parsons’ Sheldon, is a whole other brand of awkward.

“I do draw on professors I had for her,” says Bialik, who finished her degree at UCLA in 2007. “But the female professors were more socially savvy. Amy is not very feminine. There’s been a lot playfulness with trying to make her one of the girls.

“I think the impossibility of Amy and Sheldon’s relationship is so interesting,” she adds. “They’ve found ways to keep connecting even though so much is lacking. Amy is even weirder than Sheldon.”

That Amy has out-nerded Sheldon is something to be said for Bialik, who was told the show was looking for a “female Jim Parsons” when she first auditioned. It helped that her doctorate was listed on her resume, though it was at the bottom under “miscellaneous.” In Hollywood, a doctorate is an afterthought.

“I am the only ‘neuroscience’ person on the set,” Bialik says, laughing. “Jim jokes that I’m the only one who knows what everyone is saying.”

That knowledge can be helpful, and hopefully not a hindrance. “We had an anatomy debate on set for the season finale,” Bialik says. “When I hear something that’s not anatomically correct, it bugs me, and I have to say something. I wish that I could turn that off.”

But that week of filming was hardly a bad one.

“I got to kiss Jim and Kaley (Cuoco) that week,” Bialik recalls. “We got to dance the cha cha. We got to work with a capuchin monkey. I don’t think anyone can say that about their week.”

ROAD TO THE EMMYS: THE SUPPORTING ACTOR & ACTRESS:
Supporting drama actor race wide open| Shows elevate when ensembles gel
Drama
Peter Dinklage | Michelle Forbes | Irrfan Khan | “The Killing” cast | Kelly Macdonald | Margo Martindale | Denis O’Hare | Amy Ryan | Michael Shannon | Donnie Wahlberg |
Comedy

Mayim Bialik | Garret Dillahunt | Oliver Platt | Adam Scott

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more