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The Big Bang Theory - Episode 5.16 - "The Vacation Solution"

Sheldon is forced to take vacation time ... so he works in Amy's biology lab.

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The Big Bang Theory - Episode 5.16 -

DVD boxed set of The Big Bang Theory - Season 5

Original Air Date: Feb. 9, 2012


The university president forces Sheldon to take a vacation, but Sheldon doesn't like the idea of going so long without something academic to do. He decides to go to work in Amy's biology laboratory, but he is unable to deal with the fact that he is a novice in that field, which leads to conflict with his girlfriend. He ultimately does realize that he is in the wrong and apologizes for his behavior ... with some difficulty.

Meanwhile, Bernadette's father is pressing for her to get a prenuptual agreement, since she makes so much more money than Howard. Howard is conflicted over this, but is finally convinced to sign it ... mostly because Penny points out that there's no way he'll ever find anyone else if he lets Bernadette slip through his fingers.

This Episode's Science

Most of the science was related to Sheldon's work in Amy's biology lab. I've cross-linked the quotations below, but there was an abundance of name-dropping of famous physicists:

Richard Feynman - One of the most popular physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman was one of the key figures in the development of quantum electrodynamics (for which he shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics. His charismatic personality and efforts to popularize science makes him one of the biggest personalities in the modern history of physics. The story related by Sheldon - that Feynman once spent a summer vacation working in a biology lab - is true, as related by Feynman in his autobiography Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman?. There are several books by and about Richard Feynman which touch on this and other stories about his colorful life.

Marie Curie - Marie Curie was a groundbreaking researcher in the field of radiation and earned two Nobel Prizes: the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She died in 1934 from a lifetime of radiation exposure.

Carl Sagan - Carl Sagan was an American astronomer and science popularizer. He's best known for his work on the PBS science series Cosmos and for developing the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) program.

Notable Quotes

Leonard: Sheldon, everybody takes vacations.
Sheldon: One time, they tried to make Richard Feynman take a vacation, but he chose instead to expand his mind and learn something new. He went to work in his friend's biology lab. [to Howard] Richard Feynman was a famous American physicist. Part of the Manhattan Project.
Howard: Everyone in the world of science knows who Richard Feynman was.
Sheldon: Now you do too. [pause] Oh, I have a brilliant idea. Amy's a biologist. I'll go work in her lab.
Howard: Isn't that just Feynman's idea?
Sheldon: Ten seconds ago you'd never heard of him, now you're an expert.

Amy: We can be like Marie Curie and her husband Pierre, who spent days working side by side in the glow of their love and the radium that ultimately killed her. Screw Beauty and the Beast, that's the love story Disney should tell.

Sheldon: Here you go. This is now the only lab with glassware washed by a man with two doctorates and a restraining order signed by Carl Sagan.
Amy: Soap spots. Wash 'em again.
Sheldon: You're being ridiculous. Those are perfectly clean.
Amy: Sheldon, this beaker used to contain cerebral spinal fluid from an elephant that died of syphilis. If it is in fact perfectly clean, drink from it.
Sheldon: Biologists are mean.

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