One of the most popular sitcoms out there right now is The Big Bang Theory. It features a bunch of socially awkward geniuses in all of your typical Sitcom situations (dating, career, etc).
The names they chose for the characters are obviously meant to be "nerdy", but I have a feeling by being featured on the show, they may actually be priming these names for a comeback. Maybe not immediately, but perhaps in 5, 10, 15 years when some of the younger people who love the show are trying to name their kids and have positive associations with the names thanks to the characters.
Leonard - If Leo is popular, and Leonardo has had its day, why not Leonard? I know its pronounced a bit differently, and has its associations (Lynyrd Skynyrd comes to mind), but Leonard from the show is smart, funny, loveable, and has the most common sense of all of them. The meaning is "lion strength" from old German.
Sheldon - Ah, the nerdiest of then all! Sheldon has the popular "on/en" ending associated with many "last names as first names", it actually is an old-school place name, meaning "steep valley" in old English.
Howard - Howard has never gone completely out of style as there are many celebrity Howards, but its never been super popular either. I love the nickname Howie. Howard means "Noble Watchman" and is of English origin.
Rajesh - Ok, so I actually have no idea if Rajesh sounds nerdy in India, or if they just picked an Indian name for their Indian character. Nickname could be "Raj", this name refers to royalty/ruler.
Leslie - I actually don't find this name "nerdy" at all, and it is surprisingly more popular (currently ranked 245th for girls) than I would have guessed. It is Scottish and means "Holly Garden". In the show it is a girl, though can be used for boys as well.
Bernadette -Derived from Old Germana and French, Bernadette means strong, brave bear. It shares the root word with Bernard. It yields the nickname Bernie, which may be a bit tainted the movie Weekend at Bernies (or perhaps more tainted for me by an old babysitter we did not like). I prefer the alternate nickname Etta or Ettie, or you could even do Birdy!
So what do you think? Are these current "nerd names" and will the show reinforce that image or give them a new charm?