"The Big Bang Theory" The Higgs Boson Observation (TV Episode 2012) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • When Sheldon hires a female grad student to assist him, a jealous Amy asks Penny to help her spy on them. On the space station, Howard begins behaving erratically.

  • Sheldon needs someone to read through the works he did during his elementary school days, to find out if he has made a scientific breakthrough that was Nobel Prize worthy, since he thinks his time is too important to do the task himself. He eventually hires an attractive Physics grad student named Alex Jensen. When Alex answers Amy's video call to Sheldon, Amy gets shocked to learn that Alex is a girl. Amy and Penny go to Caltech to spy on them. In the cafeteria, it turns out that Alex is flirting with Leonard, much to Amy's relief and Penny's surprise. Penny has to consider that Leonard is attractive to other women. Meanwhile, Howard tells Bernadette that he have a layover in space of an additional 7 - 10 days. He is sick of his time in space and is having bad anxiety attacks that is causing erratic behavior.

  • Sheldon believes that his Nobel Prize winning project is buried somewhere deep within the many projects on which he's worked ever since he was an infant. On Leonard's advice, Sheldon decides to hire a grad student to help him sift through all his old materials. She is the beautiful Alex Jensen, who is in awe of Sheldon and ends up also acting as his administrative assistant in every capacity. Beyond Alex's generally workmanlike relationship with Sheldon, her arrival onto the scene affects Amy, Raj, Leonard and Penny all in slightly different ways, and for most not in good ways. Meanwhile, Howard's Soyuz rocket ride back to Earth has been delayed by at least a week. Anxiety ridden Howard isn't sure if he will survive the delay.



The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Howard (Simon Helberg) has been up in space for quite a while and it's starting to get to him. So much so, in fact, he begs Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) over videochat to drop things so he could remember what gravity was like. Penny (Kaley Cuoco) doesn't need to remember: she lugged a large heavy box for Sheldon (Jim Parsons) up the stairs (and even got tipped a dollar). It contained a bunch of journals he wrote when he was a child, even a bowel movement log where he mapped shape, color, and consistency. (PENNY: Disgusting! LEONARD: No, what's disgusting is that he's still keeping track.) His reasoning was due to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle, which was confirmed earlier this year at CERN. Given Peter Higgs wrote about the discovery 48 years ago and was only proven right this year, perhaps Sheldon had something in one of those journals that would help him win his Nobel Prize. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) suggests he hire a grad student to go through the journals to save him time. Penny thought she could do it...until she read something he wrote when Sheldon was five.

    PENNY: "Proof That Algebraic Topology Can Never Have a Non-Self Contradictory Set of Abelion Groups." I'm just a blonde monkey to you, aren't I.

    SHELDON: (shrugs) You said it, not me.

    Sheldon interviews Alex Jensen about as closely as you might think, even trying to goad Alex into admitting she does drugs (including caffeine), which she didn't. Thankfully the inner ear infection she had two years ago didn't factor in. She has the job, and even Leonard stops by to welcome her aboard...and hope God has mercy on her soul. Leonard thinks she seems nice, but Raj (Kunal Nayyar) jumps right in and calls dibs, despite Leonard not even being remotely interested.

    As Howard tries to deal with the news that the Soyuz rocket that was supposed to take him home will be delayed at least a week...not to mention he was down to his last 3 Tums (HOWARD: They left dogs up here in the 60s.)...Amy (Mayim Bialik) is getting make up lessons from Penny. She even got to use an eyelash curler, which she admitted "looked like something used by Tinkerbell's gynaecologist." She calls to videochat with Sheldon...and have phone sex if he's amenable. However, Alex responds and tells her Sheldon was only taking calls from his mother, Stephen Hawking, or himself from the future. Amy is actually more surprised to find out Alex is a woman. (PENNY: Maybe he didn't notice.) Amy hopes she doesn't have to worry about Sheldon, and Penny is quite certain she doesn't. But Amy says it's Leonard she has to worry about.

    AMY: (shows a picture of Sheldon) Look at this face. How can any woman spend eight hours alone with this face and not fall in love with it?

    PENNY: Well, for one thing, eventually that face starts talking.

    Amy decides to visit her boyfriend and his new assistant, although throwing the door open and yelling A-HA! gave away a slightly different strategy. She decides to lick Sheldon's stapler and rub his phone under her arm to mark her territory with her scent, which Penny can't believe.

    AMY: Just before you became my best friend, I did this all over your apartment.

    Alex joins the guys at lunch over Sheldon's protests, since he doesn't want her rising above her station and seeing what's beyond her grasp (he got that from watching a lot of British shows on PBS), but Alex was doing her dissertation on Trojan asteroids on Earth's L-5 Lagrange point, which was Raj's field of expertise. But since Raj wasn't hammered, they didn't converse much. Thankfully, Alex was used to such weird behaviour from scientists, having a dad who works at SETI. (LEONARD: You should introduce him to Sheldon. The search is over.) As it turns out, Amy and Penny saw them in the cafeteria.

    AMY: You were right. I had nothing to worry about. That skank's your problem, not mine.

    And that could be the case, as Alex was quite smitten with Leonard. Fortunately, a cherry stem lodged in Sheldon's throat broke them up.

    On the drive home, Penny kept trying to deny she was concerned, but Amy was certain Penny's prefrontal cortex was battling with her limbic system. (AMY: If it were a boxing match, they'd call it thrilla adjacent to the amygdala.) Penny doesn't want to believe it, but Leonard can be considered desirable. (PENNY: He's smart, he's sweet, and in the bedroom he really, REALLY tries.) All of this weighed heavy on her as they got home, and Sheldon and Alex walked in, since Alex may have found the journal for Sheldon's Nobel Prize. "Magnets: What Do They Stick To?" wasn't the original title: Sheldon had to dumb it down to get the overly-religious to stop accusing him of being a witch. Penny introduced herself to Alex without saying outright she was Leonard's boyfriend, and Alex couldn't stop singing Leonard's praises. Penny pulls him out the apartment.

    LEONARD: Where are we going?

    PENNY: My limbic system wants to take your pants off.

    Thankfully, Howard was feeling much better, mostly because the other astronauts tied him down and gave him a shot.

    HOWARD: (totally whacked out) Attention, people of Earth. Tonight there will be TWO moons!

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