The Big Bang Theory got viewers interested in theoretical physics through Sheldon Cooper. The quirky scientist, along with his super-smart friends, became the subject of a hugely popular TV show. Watching how nerds like Sheldon interacted with the world around them brought a lot of laughs to a lot of living rooms, but it turns out fancy scientists themselves were watching the show.

The scientific community has embraced Sheldon Cooper and his signature catchphrase, “bazinga,” in a big way. It turns out there’s a new species of bee with a scientific name that’s a nod to the show. Even though The Big Bang Theory is off the air, Sheldon Cooper will long be remembered, thanks to this new animal species. 

(L-R) Mayim Bialik as Amy and Jim Parsons as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory
(L-R) Mayim Bialik as Amy and Jim Parsons as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory | Sonja Flemming/Getty Images

There is more than one animal species named for a ‘Big Bang Theory’ catchphrase 

Apparently real scientists love The Big Bang Theory as much as non-scientists. Some researchers even named a new type of animal after Sheldon’s catchphrase on the show. When he makes one of his awkward jokes, Sheldon is known to top it off with a “bazinga.” The word has become his catchphrase on the show and has made its way into common vernacular. 

In a nod to The Big Bang Theory and Sheldon Cooper himself, researchers named a newly discovered species of orchid bee Euglossa bazinga, according to ScreenRant. The “bazinga” is a reference to Sheldon’s catchphrase. But that’s not the only new species that has been named for the show. There’s a newly discovered jellyfish out there that also sports Sheldon’s catchphrase as part of it’s name, the Bazinga Reiki. The bee was named in 2012, five years after The Big Bang Theory premiered. The jellyfish got its Sheldon Cooper inspired name in 2013.

The catchphrase doesn’t appear in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ until the end of season two 

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Interestingly, even though Sheldon is notorious for his “bazinga” catchphrase, he doesn’t say it on the show until the end of season two. The word is actually a kind of symbol for Sheldon’s character development. His friends, including his new friend Penny, encourage him to be more fun-loving. At the end of season two, viewers see Sheldon pulling pranks, and announcing them with his signature “bazinga.” 

It turns out the catchphrase was inspired by one of the writers on the show. Stephen Engel was a notorious prankster in the writer’s room of The Big Bang Theory, and any time he would pull one of his classic pranks, he would say “bazinga,” according to HuffPost. Once he apparently gave co-creator Bill Prady a grapefruit that had been hollowed out. When Prady tried to eat the empty fruit, Engel shouted “bazinga!” Knowing that the word came from an actual prankster makes Sheldon’s use of it that much better.

Although Sheldon’s pranks usually aren’t as detailed as the grapefruit gag, it’s still cute to think of him doing pranks at all. Sheldon’s character grew so much throughout the show, and his bazingas are proof. Sheldon may have picked up “bazinga” from Engel, but it has been on television before. Although it may not have been popular, the word was around for a long time before Sheldon became notorious for using it. Its first appearance on television may have been in an episode of The X-Files that aired in 2000.

Jim Parsons says “bazinga” wasn’t in the script 

Jim Parsons, the actor who plays Sheldon, says the classic catchphrase wasn’t in the script the first time he used it. The first use of the word comes in the beginning of the last episode of season two. Sheldon is looking up at an equation Leonard has on his whiteboard. Sheldon then tells Leonard he’s made a mistake. When Leonard can’t find it, Sheldon says “You actually had it right in the first place. Once again, you’ve fallen for one of my classic pranks. Bazinga!” 

The “bazinga” was added last minute. According to Parsons, “It was one of those moments where we’d work on a scene and then you’d go and take notes from the producers and writers. If I’m correct, it was inserted right before a taping basically. It was like ‘That would work in here. What if he said ‘bazinga’ after that?’” The rest is history. 

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