George Smoot was a big scoop that the show "Are you smarter than a Fifth grader?" got.
The show entertains by painfully exposing just how little of their elementary school education adults retain, so having a Nobel laureate on stage called for even more ridiculous FOX theatrics than usual. In the opening sequence, the announcer booms, "Will he blow it, and be the laughing-stock of Nobel prize-winners everywhere?" I wonder if any of Smoot's Berkeley colleagues started to sweat at that point. Would the show expose the shortcomings of science? Would Smoot remember how to spell the word "Mississippi?"
Luckily for us, he crushed the challenged.
Still, I think it's interesting that most people associate "being able to memorize all of these disjointed facts" with being "smart". If that's the case, I have to be one of the dumbest people around, because I have a hard time remembering numbers, dates, names, etc. I understand concepts, and how to apply and manipulate them, but god help me if I have to recite the date of such-and-such. It took me long enough just to remember my own phone number.