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Fudan's own 'Big Bang Theory'

FOUR funny Fudan University geeks have gone viral with their "geek" series online. Now they have fans nationwide who love watching their quirky inventions, weird experiments and hearing about their daily lives. Xu Chi tunes in.

It's 3am and four sophomores from Fudan University are watching live World Cup football right in their own dorm room - with their DIY system, a home-made TV with second-hand set-up box, a broken stereo, a computer screen and USB connection with access to free cable TV.

"Other students watch the games online on their computers, with a delay due to the Internet connection," says Lu Yuanda, one of the four young engineers. "That means we can hear our classmates down the hall cheering a goal after we have already seen it on TV and cheered." Dorms don't have cable access.

The four young geeks, all computer science majors, are counterparts (sort of) of characters in the American TV sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" about the adventures of bespectacled nerds at Caltech in Pasadena, California.

The four, all in their early 20s, include Xu Jian (Wuhan, Hubei Province), Zhang Kan (Qingdao, Shandong Province), Lu Yuanda and Wang Xinyu (both from Shenyang, Liaoning Province).

They live together in cramped Room 5023 at 2500 Songhuajiang Road.

The four have a sense of humor and they have become famous on campus and something of media celebrities because of the funny homemade geek video series "Room 5023 Lectures" they posted online. It went viral and they now have fans nationwide.

Their room, cluttered but comfortable, contains their own creations - an electric fan that is remotely controlled and responds to a single click; a computer that can access cable TV and a live camera that allows them to monitor their room from anywhere.

All electricity and appliances are remote controlled.

Their desks are covered with all kinds of equipment, including a signal generator, an oscillograph and multimeter.

"Making things has been my hobby since I was a little kid," says Lu, now working on an electronic photo frame that can display photos and play movies.

He goes to Qiujiang Road to buy cheap second-hand electronics, takes them apart and stores the parts he needs for future use.

He helped Fudan University Expo volunteers build a lighted, color-changing cube at their Expo station.

"We are good at inventing tiny DIYs to make our life more comfortable," says Xu, the chief of the geek squad.

Xu has invented English-learning software that is now very popular among university students - it's only 100kb but contains all the vocabularies of TEM 4, 6, TOEFL and GRE.

"I never thought it would be so popular that I would constantly get feedback for improvement from users," he says.

Xu says he invented the software to impress a young woman, but it didn't turn her on.

"Xu is very persevering, which is good for science, but that quality may scare the girls away," says his buddy Lu. "Anyway, we are just inexperienced in romance and not very good at it."

Xu is the man behind the video "Room 5023 Lectures," in which the four demonstrate their technical achievements, conduct strange experiments, discuss their theories and are shown going about their daily lives.

The flicks have received more than 300,000 clicks and are spreading nationwide via popular social networking Websites, such as

In the past few weeks they have been bombarded by TV and print reporters for interviews.

"It never occurred to me that we might become famous - that's not our purpose," says Lu. "Our popularity is only temporary, and when it passes we will get down to studying again."

So far they aren't going commercial.

"I can easily make money by selling my English-learning software, for 2 yuan (30 US cents) each," says Xu, "but I'd rather see my works shared among users for free."

Lu says he has received job offers from some companies because of his small inventions. But right now the priority is learning.

And just like all the other stereotypical computer geeks all over the world, these nerds aren't so good at sports.

Wang, the most in-shape of the four, points to a FIFA cup on his desk, indicating he's a winner.

"Don't be fooled by that - he won it in table football game," says Lu, laughing.

But they do have a lot of outdoor hobbies, such as table tennis, biking and hunting for cheap, second-hand electronic goods. All of them enjoy reading; Zhang has two shelves of books on his desk.

Zhang has installed a live camera in a remote-controlled toy car, with a camera and adaptor that can access the school's WiFi system. The roommates enjoy watching videos of the campus recorded by the toy car.

Besides, Zhang is also literally a Webmaster, as the 21-year-old has already been qualified as network engineer.

With his help, the four geeks built their Website (, where they upload their funny videos, academic reports and astonishing inventions.

They have put out their color-coded telephone "number" on the Website, but fans have to be smart enough to figure it out: Black Red Brown - Blue Green Blue Green Orange Green Orange Brown."

Tips: the first three colors stand for "021" and each color represents a number.

Give them a call.


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