Howard is performing a magic act at a relative's birthday party, but discovers that Bernadette isn't really good with kids when she grows aggressive with a kid who heckles the Great Howdini's magic act.
Meanwhile, Amy gets a major publication in her field, but Sheldon blows off the news as unimportant. Since he is incapable and unwilling to resolve things emotionally, he decides to resolve the problem by buying her an expensive gift. Amy's reaction at the end of the episode, when she is given the "shiny trinket," is one of the funniest moments in the series (up there with the season 1 episode where Penny give him the DNA of Leonard Nimoy for Christmas).
This Episode's Science
Skepticism: Sheldon begins the episode by explaining how magic hinders the critical thinking skills of children, leading to the adoption of all kinds of superstitious or unfounded beliefs. Though Sheldon's view tends to be fairly extreme among the skeptical community, it is based on real concerns about students being exposed to irrational concepts.
Dendrites: In this episode, Amy got a paper on the cover of a prestigious neuroscience journal. I won't claim to understand the neuroscience techno-babble about her paper (biology is, after all, about yucky, squishy things), but she referred to dendrites, which are a key structural component of the neuron. I knew that much, at least!
Sheldon: A magic show is an inherently deceitful proposition. This is an ordinary top hat. You've chosen that card freely. I do not have a set of lockpicks lodged in my keister.
Raj: Can't you just enjoy the wonder, Sheldon? Why must you peek behind the curtain? Or up the butt?
Sheldon: If we poison the critical thinking faculties of children by telling them that rabbits come out of hats, then we create adults who believe in astrology, and homeopathy, and that Ryan Reynolds was a better choice for Green Lantern than lovable rogue Nathan Fillion.
Leonard: Sheldon, he's just going to do a few magic tricks for some kids. I really don't think they're going to end up liking the Green Lantern movie.
Sheldon: Without objection, the minutes of the previous date are considered read and agreed to. Any new business?
Amy: How was your day?
Sheldon: Superb. This morning, I made a palindrome with my Alpha Bits. Nice hat, Bob Tahecin.
Amy: Sounds like you hit the ground running. I have a bit of good news myself. My most recent paper on how cooperative long-term potentiation can map memory sequences and dendritic branches made the cover of Neuron.
Sheldon: Oh, speaking of good news, somebody just hit 100 Twitter followers.
Amy: That's nice. Anyway, I've been dreaming of this day for a long time.
Sheldon: Yeah, me, too. Triple digits? I'm not going to lie. It feels pretty good.
Amy: Sheldon, I'm the sole author on a paper that's being published in a distinguished journal that may change the course of my field.
Sheldon: [Staring at his smartphone] Um-hum, um-hum. Ooh! 101! Air's getting a bit thin up here.
Penny: Amy just told you some exciting news and you acted like it was no big deal.
Sheldon: Oh, I see why you're confused. No. Her news sounded important, but what you're forgetting is that it's an achievement in the field of biology. That's all about yucky, squishy things.
Sheldon: Remarkable. Diamonds. Crystalized carbon. Every day, people go to the grocery store and come home with sacks full of carbon, in the form of charcoal brickets, which they toss in their barbecues and set on fire, but just because you have some carbon with the atoms stacked neatly, you expect me to plunk down thousands of dollars.
Jewelry Store Clerk: Actually, that's only $750. Everything's on sale.
Sheldon: Really? Talk to me about that pocket watch.