I love the show (though there are aspects of it I'd like to see improved). I recognized the four male leads immediately as guys I knew in college! I knew these guys! Even dated a couple of them! They were computer scientists, however; I was not surprised to hear co-creator Prady say he used to be a computer programmer and drew inspiration from people he knew and liked in those days for these characters.
(I'm still friends with some of the compsci guys I knew in college. Is it a coincidence that three of them are at Goddard on contract?)
My son and his dad are both on the Aspie side of the autism spectrum; some of Sheldon's personality traits hit (hilariously) close to home, but drat! Sheldon's orderliness is not one of them!
@brooke_simmons, to your point about it maybe being different if the main characters aren't in your field, maybe. I majored in science (but not in physics); my best friend majored in math (because she couldn't get into the compsci program and math allowed her to take pretty much the same curriculum), and she loves TBBT, too. However, some physicists vie to get their work shown on the show (on the whiteboards), and Smoot, deGrasse Tyson, Greene, and Hawking have appeared on the show, so it appears to have some fans who are physicists. Clearly not all, however!
@michealjroberts, Raj can now speak to women. I can't agree with your statement "The perception of the outsider is that science is done by life's losers." The people I know who like the show really like the characters and don't see them as losers at all, but instead as people who are doing what they are passionate about for a living... something many people only dream about. That looks like winning to me.