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The Real Life Sheldon & Leonard: CMU Physics Professors Thank 'Big Bang Theory' For Making Love Of Science More Accepted

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- After 279 episodes, the CBS comedy "The Big Bang Theory" is coming to an end.

Over the past 12 seasons, viewers have come to love the characters, like theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper.

But do people like Sheldon exist in real life?

KDKA's search ended at the Carnegie Mellon University campus.

carnegie mellon professor ira rothstein
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Professor Ira Rothstein is a real-life theoretical physicist, researching quantum mechanics and string theory.

So is Rothstein really like Sheldon?

"I'm happily married. I have four children. You know, I don't have the social problems that he has apparently on the show, so... But science-wise, I would say yeah," Rothstein said.

Actually, Rothstein has never seen the show.

"I've seen clips of it because people always send me clips. 'Hey, look at this,' or 'what do you think about that,' or 'did they get this right?'" he said.

Scientifically, he says they get a lot right on the show. In fact, they even put some of Rothstein's work in one episode.

"If you look in the background and you blow it up, [it's] some formulas from a paper we had published," he said.


Another Carnegie Mellon physics professor, Steve Garoff, is a big fan of "Big Bang."

If Rothstein is Sheldon, then who is Garoff?

Without hesitation, Garoff says he's Leonard Hofstadter, another main character on the show.

"You should ask my wife. I think I'm a little scarily close, socially, to Leonard. This sweater is something like 15 years old and I still wear it every day," Garoff said.

Both think "Big Bang" helped make loving science more accepted. For that, they're thankful, and they're sad to see it go.

"I think it's brought it sort of into the mainstream. I think it's great. Anything that gets the public interested in science I think is great. And I think this show definitely did it," Rothstein said.

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