Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik shares her story

Mayim Bialik, who plays the role of neuroscientist Amy Farrah-Fowler on the CBS TV series ‘Big Bang Theory,’ has a real life Ph.D. in neuroscience.

By Abby Miller Junior, Ladue Horton Watkins High School

You may know her as the title character from the former TV show “Blossom,” or as a nerdy scientist from the current sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” but you may be surprised to discover that Mayim Bialik, who plays these characters, considers acting as only one of her many interests. With a doctorate degree in neuroscience and as a blogger on Kveller, a website offering a Jewish perspective on parenting, Bialik, 38, represents the new triple threat: actress, intellectual and mom.

Landing her role as Blossom early in her life, Bialik lived below the limelight. Unlike many teen stars today, Bialik felt a need to attend college because of her status as a grandchild of immigrants who valued education. In an email interview, Bialik said her life on the “Blossom” set helped spark her interest in the human sciences.

 “I fell in love with science in high school while being tutored on the ‘Blossom’ set and studied the brain and nervous system, going all the way to a Ph.D.,” said Bialik, who studied at UCLA for both her bachelor’s in neuroscience, Hebrew studies and Jewish studies, and her doctorate in neuroscience.

In that time, Bialik took a hiatus from acting to focus on her studies and start a family. Then, she decided to go back to acting once again. She had to start that process from scratch, going to auditions and hoping to land roles.

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Bialik then won a spot on the sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” where she quickly became a regular cast member as Amy Farrah-Fowler, a neurobiologist. With a Ph.D. in neuroscience herself, Bialik believes the show allows women to be represented as scientists without stereotypes.

“I created Amy based on Jim Parsons’ Sheldon character but also based on women I knew in science from my graduate school days,” Bialik said. “Usually women are presented as nerds, or airheads. We try to show more complicated female characters for sure.”

The show rehearses three days a week and tapes two days a week. However, Bialik tries to ensure that her job and beliefs remain separate.

 “I work pretty much every day, but I don’t work on Shabbat unless it’s needed for my job,” Bialik said. “I pray at night with my boys, and I have a constant loving awareness of HaShem so that’s kind of a gift that keeps giving, that awareness.”

But Bialik is not just an intelligent and skillful actress. She also offers her voice to advocate for what she believes. She speaks at Jewish and secular events, discussing topics such as her choice to eat vegan or females in science jobs. Every week she finds time between being a mom and an actress to write for Kveller.com, a Jewish parenting blog.

“I think if people ask me about myself in interviews and my honesty can help someone else, that’s a blessing,” Bialik said. 

“I don’t want to make anyone like me, but I do try and be honest and forthcoming about my beliefs and emphasizing that I am not perfect in any way!”