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Microgravity: living on the International Space Station
Microgravity: living on the International Space Station

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2 Microgravity research and its impact

Have you ever watched the television programme The Big Bang Theory? In this series, there are humorous conflicts between the theoretical physicist, Sheldon Cooper, and everyone else. He takes a rather dismissive view towards the other sciences, particularly against his friends who portray a LASER physicist (Leonard Hofstadter), an aerospace engineer (Harold Wolowitz), a neurobiologist (Amy Fowler), a microbiologist (Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz), and an astrophysicist (Raj Koothrappali). These tensions are drawn out in some humorous situations.

A photograph of some of the actors and actresses from 'The Big Bang Theory'
Figure 1 Some of the characters from The Big Bang Theory.

On occasion, the writers imply that there are intellectual differences between Theoretical Physics, Engineering and Biology, although often at the expense of Sheldon, the Theoretical Physicist. In Week 3 you saw how science at the quantum level is investigated across these traditional disciplines; you should bear in mind that in reality scientists rarely work alone in their own field of research. Indeed, in the context of the ISS, scientists from various different disciplines work together to solve problems and present scientific investigations.