15 Fascinating Scientific Tidbits We Learned From The Big Bang Theory

Over the past 10 years, we've learned a slew of interesting scientific tidbits from The Big Bang Theory, like what a Rhombicosidodecahedron is and the length of a galactic year. Here are just 15 of our favorite factoids! Stream episodes of The Big Bang Theory now on CBS All Access.

1. A Rhombicosidodecahedron is an Archimedean solid.

1. A Rhombicosidodecahedron is an Archimedean solid.

Knowing that a Rhombicosidodecahedron has 20 regular triangular faces, 30 square faces, 12 pentagonal faces, 60 vertices and 120 edges is impressive. However, knowing how to pronounce it is even more mind-blowing in our book.

Stream episodes of The Big Bang Theory now on CBS All Access.
2. Sharing a mutual dislike of someone else can bring friends closer.

2. Sharing a mutual dislike of someone else can bring friends closer.

If you thought gossip disappeared after high-school graduation, you were so wrong. And while no one likes being talked about behind their back, it turns out trash-talk actually can benefit the gossiper—at least that’s how Amy justified slinging smack about Bernadette with Penny. Maybe being a drama queen actually does pay off!
3. In engineering, you quantify the strength of materials with Young's modulus.

3. In engineering, you quantify the strength of materials with Young's modulus.

So what if you're not an astronaut. That doesn't mean you can't know a thing or two about the stiffness of elasticity, as proposed by 19th-century British scientist Thomas Young. Take a cue from Sheldon and whip out this fact at your next cocktail party—although, we can't guarantee your friends won't be annoyed by your overwhelming understanding of rubber.
4. To prevent eddy currents in a transformer, simply laminate the core material.

4. To prevent eddy currents in a transformer, simply laminate the core material.

If there's one thing we love about Howard more than his bowl cut, it's just how darn frustrated he gets when Sheldon's right. Sorry, Howard. Unlike with eddy currents, laminating your friends won't solve any of your problems.
5. Poiseuille's law explains how the flow rate in a pipe depends on its diameter.

5. Poiseuille's law explains how the flow rate in a pipe depends on its diameter.

Poor Howard thought he could trump Sheldon with this one. Unfortunately, not even a spitball could hold Sheldon back from a chance to show off. We call that Cooper's Know-It-All Law.
6. One galactic year is the equal to 250 million years on earth.

6. One galactic year is the equal to 250 million years on earth.

Two hundred and fifty million years? We don't even want to think of what the dog equivalent to that is.
7. Operant conditioning techniques are used to alter a person's or group's behavior.

7. Operant conditioning techniques are used to alter a person's or group's behavior.

What's even cooler is that psychologist B.F. Skinner actually used these techniques to teach pigeons how to play ping-pong.
8. The term

8. The term "negative reinforcement" doesn't mean what you think it does.

Apparently, we've been using this term incorrectly for years! According to Sheldon, "Negative reinforcement is the removal of a positive stimulus." So, what we consider "negative reinforcement" is actually "positive punishment." If you're positively confused, don't worry. We are, too.
9. A multiwire proportional counter is used to detect cosmic particles.

9. A multiwire proportional counter is used to detect cosmic particles.

Instead of relying on huge Cherenkov telescopes, the boys found a way to build their own multiwire detector. Started at the bottom, now they’re here! Too bad "here" also means chasing a pigeon out of the clean room.
10. A little anxiety can actually help you be productive.

10. A little anxiety can actually help you be productive.

Feeling uninspired? Then it’s time to make yourself just a bit uncomfortable. According to psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson, immersing yourself in a state of productive anxiety will boost your overall performance. Not a huge people person? Force yourself out of the house and get to that after-work party. You might be uncomfortable by all the chit-chat, but you’ll be ready to get back to work in no time.
11. Superfluid Vacuum Theory imagines space as a superfluid.

11. Superfluid Vacuum Theory imagines space as a superfluid.

When Leonard realized fellow scientists weren't discussing the Superfluid Vacuum Theory (SVT) as a way to understand spacetime, he and Sheldon instantly jumped at the chance to beat them to it. After publishing their work online, they learned the only thing more difficult than understanding SVT is discovering how cruel people can be online.
12. You should never consume superfluid helium.

12. You should never consume superfluid helium.

One taste of superfluid helium will result in your tongue freezing and snapping off. Some things were never meant to be ingested, even if they do smell like blueberries.
13. You can use humans to test the puzzle-solving abilities of apes.

13. You can use humans to test the puzzle-solving abilities of apes.

Our primate brethren often get a bad rap. However, one of the most effective ways of testing the intelligence of apes is by giving them puzzles most humans can’t solve. Looks like the joke's on us!
14. Billions of solar neutrinos pass through us every single day.

14. Billions of solar neutrinos pass through us every single day.

While you were playing I Spy on road trips, Sheldon and Leonard were busy discussing how many solar subatomic particles pass through a car in a given moment. Think of that the next time you complain how hard it is to find the letter "Z" on a freeway sign.
15. Some things don’t need a scientific explanation.

15. Some things don’t need a scientific explanation.

Perhaps the most important scientific fact is knowing that some things, like love, are simply not meant to be explained—and that you should probably avoid comparing romantic feelings brain parasites.

Stream episodes of The Big Bang Theory now on CBS All Access.