Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The Probable Origins of “Amy Farrah Fowler”

All of The Big Bang Theory fans know that some characters from the show borrow their names from actual people. For example “Leonard Hofstadter” is derived from Sheldon Leonard (actor/producer) and Robert Hofstadter (Physicist and Nobel Prize Laureate) while “Sheldon Cooper” is also derived from Sheldon Leonard and another Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics: Leon Cooper. The names are thus combinations of “Acting” and “Science”. But how about “Amy Farrah Fowler”? Does it have an origin in reality, or is it just another random quirky name?

The “Brain-Eating Amoeba”

Recently, while doing a little research about epidemics and diseases, I stumbled upon an article about an AMOEBA called N. FOWLERI (It was named after Physician M.Fowler)… AMY Farrah FOWLER…  Am I the only one who hears the phonetic similarity? In addition, this amoeba is nicknamed “the brain-eating amoeba” (for obvious reasons), and we all know how enticing a disease ridden brain is for good old Amy. Well, that covers the “Science” part of the equation, how about the “Acting”? To be honest, I’m not sure, but Farrah Fawcett seems like a good candidate for the part. Why you ask? Well, the fact that Amy is (physically speaking) Fawcett’s diametric opposite adds to her comicality and to the many contrasts of her personality.

In conclusion, all of this is nothing but hypothetical since none of the show’s producers, directors, writers etc. has ever mentioned any origin to Amy’s name. But still, there’s no harm in musing about it!

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Tonic or Cereal?

“Achilles : Oh, I couldn’t tell. Well, now I REALLY want to            find that bottle of tonic. For some reason, my lips              are burning. And nothing would taste better than            a drink of popping-tonic.
Tortoise : That stuff is renowned for its thirst quenching            powers. Why in some places people very nearly go         crazy over it. At the turn of the century in Vienna,              the Schönberg food factory stopped making tonic,          and started making cereal instead. You can’t                   imagine the uproar that caused.”

Douglas HOFSTADTER,
in “Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid”
M.C.Escher’s Convex and Concave (1955 Lithograph)

 

Scattered Bits

  • Shadows can move faster than light (this does not violate any “law of physics” because shadows transfer neither energy nor matter).
  • Ludwig van Beethoven was not the only composer struck by deafness (and who still composed afterwards) : the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana also lost his hearing between September and October of 1874, ten years prior to his demise. Additionally, in the last movement of his String Quartet No. 1–dubbed “From My Life“–  the first violin sustains a harmonic  E, reminiscent of the ringing in his ear that forebode his deafness (the ringing was really a chord in A) .
  •  “Madam I am Adam. Able was I ere I saw Elba” are two palindromes, so is the third movement from Hayden’s Symphony No. 47,  Alban Berg’s Lulu, and many of Anton Webern’s compositions.
  • Johann Sebastian Bach used to subtly sign his work with the following sequence of notes : Sib-La-Do-Si (French Nomenclature) or B-A-C-H (German Nomenclature). There are also other similar motifs such as : DSCH (Dmitri Schostakovich), SACHER  hexachord (Paul Sacher; it was used  in twelve compositions by various 20th century composers (12 Hommages à Paul Sacher)).

Miscellaneous

  •  Lobsters and Jellyfish (among other species) are biologically immortal. They only die if injured or diseased.
  • George Perec wrote a whole book without the letter “e” (one of the most common letter in French) called La Disparition.
  • Einstein reportedly said to his first wife : “I promise you neither intimacy nor fidelity”. He also cheated on both his wives with more than 10 women and even wrote a misogynistic manifesto!
  • In 1958, Ford Motor Company designed a nuclear-powered car dubbed “The Ford Nucleon”.
  • The Quark, a fundamental particle, owes its spelling to James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Murray Gell-mann, who had the pronunciation in mind, couldn’t choose a spelling until he read the following passage from Joyce’s work: “Three quarks for Muster Mark!/Sure he has not got much of a bark/And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark.”
  • The famous French dramatist Cyrano “Big Nose” de Bergerac wrote some of the earliest works of science fiction, including concepts such as : space travel, moon-landings, etc.