Standing on “The Big Bang Theory” set and holding champagne flutes of apple cider, Chuck Lorre and the cast of the CBS hit met the twenty UCLA freshmen receiving “The Big Bang Theory” scholarships for pursuing education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Lorre said the idea for the scholarship came after they noticed the number of students interested in studying STEM skills.
“We were reading articles about how kids here and in England were gravitating to STEM fields, both in high school and college, because they’d been impacted by the show,” Lorre said. “‘The Big Bang Theory’ actually caused them to look into science and technology and math as career goals. You don’t set out to make a sitcom anticipating you might cause somebody to change their life.”
“The Big Bang Theory” Scholarship Endowment has already raised more than $4 million through the show, the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation and entertainment industry contributors. Twenty students were selected this year, but five additional scholars will be added each future academic year in perpetuity.
The show’s cast, who’ve also contributed to the fund, were also excited to meet the students they’ve directly impacted.
“It feels good to be able to do something that has such a real and positive effect,” said Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon Cooper on the show. “Today we get to meet the students who are going to benefit from this, and you don’t get to do that a lot.”
“It’s humbling,” said Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz). “I don’t want this to seem like it’s in our honor. We’re in a very fortunate position to help anybody, and education is at the top of a lot of our lists.”
Lorre gave the students a simple request. “No pressure, but we expect you to change the world,” he said. “Or blow it up. All we can do is make people laugh. You have to do the rest.”