Howard Wolowitz is an aerospace engineer and former NASA astronaut who works at Caltech in Pasadena. Howard is married to Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz, with whom he has a daughter and is expecting a son. Howard is best friends with Raj Koothrappali.
Howard's personality has changed over the years from an inappropriate, would-be ladies' man to being the first of the guys to get married, settle down and start a family. Among his friends and on the Internet, Howard and his online alter-ego Wolowizard had a creepy reputation. Howard was known for his inappropriate, and typically unsuccessful, advances on just about any woman he came in contact with, and his elaborate schemes to meet women.
Howard is known for his bright, tight-fitting clothes, which are usually worn with a turtleneck or dickey, and large collection of belt buckles. Howard's style does include more mainstream elements like Vans trainers, denim and leather jackets. Unlike Sheldon and Leonard, Howard does not usually wear superhero or geeky t-shirts.
For a long time, Howard's vehicle of choice was a Vespa scooter, though he now drives an SUV. Besides English, Howard speaks French, Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, Persian and Japanese (and Klingon), and knows American Sign Language. Howard has described himself as "bad Jew" as he does not follow a kosher diet, often enjoying pork.
Howard's mom and family
Howard is the product of an overbearing Jewish mother, Debbie Wolowitz. Although Howard was often angry about his mother's dominance of his life, he undeniably remained dependent on her until his relationship with Bernadette started to get serious. His strong bond with his mother was likely the result of Howard's father leaving him and Mrs. Wolowitz when Howard was young. Howard has described how when his mother started dating after her husband left, Howard was a jerk to her about it. As a result, Mrs. Wolowitz didn't really date again and was always alone.
In February 2015, while on a trip to Florida, Mrs. Wolowitz passed away in her sleep. Howard has generally coped well following the loss of his mother, though he was incensed when the airline nearly lost Mrs. Wolowitz's ashes. Following a power cut at Mrs. Wolowitz's house, Howard and the gang gathered to eat all her leftover food in a final family dinner cooked by Mrs. Wolowitz.
Howard has not showed any interest in meeting or having contact with his absentee father. When Sheldon found a letter from Howard's dad while clearing out Howard's closet, Howard did not want to read the letter or know its contents. Howard's friends gave him a number of possible scenarios for what the letter contained, so he could both know and not know what his father wrote to him for his 18th birthday.
When Howard got the title deed to his mother's house, he made sure he didn't have to have any contact with his father. Unexpectedly, a young man later showed up on Howard's door step saying he was his half-brother, Josh. Although Howard was initially uncomfortable with the idea his dad had another family, Howard and Josh bonded over their similar personalities.
Marriage to Bernadette
When Howard called in a favor with Leonard, Penny set him up with Bernadette Rostenkowski, a microbiologist who worked at the Cheesecake Factory with Penny. Though Howard and Bernadette initially appeared to have little in common, they quickly bonded over their overbearing mothers and began dating. When Howard realised this could become a lasting relationship, he suddenly proposed to Bernadette. She did not accept the proposal, but the pair continued to date. Bernadette dumped Howard when she caught him having cyber-sex with "Glacinda the Troll" on World of Warcraft, though they got back together later.
After dating for a while, Howard proposed to Bernadette again and this time she accepted. After Wil Wheaton uploaded a video of Raj drunkenly describing some of Howard's sexual conquests, Bernadette questioned their impending marriage. A heart-felt apology from Howard for his past behavior won Bernadette over and, true to his word, Howard has since left behind much of his previous creepy behavior.
Bernadette decided that they should get married before Howard went in to space. When the couple were unable to wed at City Hall, they agreed to marry on the roof of the guys' apartment as the Google Earth satellite passed above. Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj and Amy became ministers and performed Howard and Bernadette's wedding.
When Howard returned from space, Bernadette had to tell him to stop talking about his time up there - even though Howard thought it was likely to be the greatest accomplishment of his life. Following his return to earth, Bernadette insisted Howard finally move out of his mother's house. Howard only recently noticed that when she's angry, Bernadette sounds a lot like Mrs. Wolowitz.
Following Mrs. Wolowitz's death, Howard and Bernadette moved into her old house, where Stuart was still living, and are in the process of fixing the place up. When Bernadette organized a garage sale to clear out some of the junk, she wanted Howard to sell his prized life-sized Doctor Who TARDIS. In the end, the guys had a ping pong battle to decide who should get to keep it, and Amy won. Howard and Bernadette tried to ask Stuart to move out, but they lost their nerve when he said it was his birthday.
When Bernadette's father, Mike, helped with the redesign of Howard and Bernadette's house, he pointed out how easy it would be to change the den into a nursery. After Mike said Howard wouldn't want to hear about this, Howard learned that Bernadette had been telling her father that Howard was the one against starting a family. After Howard and Bernadette discussed having children, Howard vowed that he wouldn't just leave all the hard work to her, pledging to be the type of father that's always around - unlike his own father.
Family Life with Bernadette
After Bernadette revealed to Howard that she was pregnant, Howard's excitement at finally having kids quickly turned to dread as he realized how difficult and expensive raising a family would be. Howard decided he needed to start earning more money, fast, leading him to collaborate with Sheldon and Leonard on a guidance system project.
When Bernadette had her prenatal scans at the OBGYN, she and Howard decided not to learn the sex of their baby, but Raj took a peek at their folder and saw the gender of their child. Bernadette and Howard went back and forth on whether they should know the sex of their baby, making many abandoned phone calls to Raj to find out, but they eventually settled on keeping it a surprise until the baby was born.
After Howard felt the baby kick for the first time, he freaked out about the responsibilities he and Bernadette would soon face. In response, Howard rushed to get the house ready for a baby and made a number of impulse purchases, including an expensive crib and a mini-van.
When Bernadette noticed Stuart had been served an eviction notice, he admitted he had been evicted and was in need of a place to stay. Recognising that Stuart could help them out with the baby, Howard convinced Bernadette that they should let Stuart move back in as he would be another pair of hands. As the due date approached, Stuart and Raj got competitive over who would be the more helpful “third wheel” in the final weeks of Bernadette’s pregnancy.
Howard freaked out about what to do when Bernadette's water broke, but Stuart and Raj put the birthing plan into motion and got Bernadette to the hospital. Bernadette was sent home from the hopistal because her contractions weren't yet far enough apart. As Raj filmed a video for the baby, he inadvertently revealed that Howard and Bernadette were expecting a baby girl. The couple were so angry with Raj that they sent him away.
After returning to the hospital, Howard and Bernadette discussed baby names now they knew they were expecting a girl. When their baby was born a few hours later, Howard told his friends they had chosen to name the baby Halley and that Raj would be her godfather. Following the birth of Halley, Howard and Bernadette both took paid parental leave off from work. When the floor in Halley's room exhibited an annoying squeak, Howard and Raj ignored any practical solutions and instead devised a fix involving a giant grid on the floor which was difficult to cross, much to Bernadette's annoyance.
With Bernadette's maternity leave coming to an end, she was conflicted about returning to work. Bernadette felt like her only choices were to abandon her baby or give up on her career. When she talked about her feelings with Howard, he said he didn’t know whether there was a right choice either, but whatever they decide they could always change their mind if it isn’t working out. Howard, Bernadette and Stuart all struggled to leave Halley at daycare when the parents returned to work.
When Bernadette told Howard that she was expecting again, he was once again floored with fear about raising another child and going through another pregnancy. After they came to see the pregnancy as a gift, albeit an unwanted one, Howard was struck with panic when they found out they were expecting a boy.
Howard, who isn't athletically inclined, worried he would not be able to relate to a son who might one day expect his dad to be the stereotypical father. After spending the day with Sheldon, building a model rocket, Howard realized he still had things he could teach a son even if he isn't interested in sports. Despite his best attempts to get out of it, Howard had a vasectomy to avoid any future surprises and was placed on bed rest, joining his pregnant wife at Home.
Howard's best friend is Raj Koothrappali. During Howard's single days, they were particularly close. Beverly Hofstadter described their relationship as an ersatz homosexual marriage. Despite their close bond, during his more lecherous days, Howard would often leave Raj if he thought he had the chance of hooking up with a girl. Howard and Raj formed a "filk" (folk and science-fiction) band, "Footprints on the Moon", after Stuart decided to present live music at the comic book store. Raj and Howard wrote a song, "Hammer and Whip: The Untold Story of Thor vs. Indiana Jones", and performed it at the Comic Center. Howard and Raj's band, "Footprints on the Moon", has also served as the house band for episodes of Sheldon and Amy's vodcast, Fun with Flags. When Bernadette was pregnant, Raj took a close interest in their pregnancy - sometimes too close for their comfort. To their annoyance, Raj found out the sex of their baby before they did, but he also helped Howard and Bernadette get ready for the birth of their child. As a result, Howard and Bernadette named Raj as Halley's godfather.
Howard's friendship with Raj was thrown in doubt when Raj got an interview for a job at the planetarium which went badly after he spent 45 minutes talking about his flaws. When his father tried to figure out why Raj now lacked any self-confidence, he blamed Howard for his sarcastic jokes at Raj's expense. Although he didn't see it at first, Raj began to think that his dad was right. Howard was upset and angry when Raj said he needed some time away from him, thinking Raj was trying to pin his failures on him. When Howard was left to organize a first birthday party for Halley, and completely failed, Raj eventually stepped in and bailed his friend out. After a confrontation in the bouncy house that Raj put on for the party, he and Howard started pushing each other around while airing their grievances. The cathartic release helped the old friends to patch things up.
Howard is frequently the butt of Sheldon's jokes and the recipient of his condescension. As a result, Howard is not the most tolerant of Sheldon's quirks and has, at times, played a number of practical jokes on Sheldon. Sheldon views himself as Howard's slightly apathetic tertiary friend. When Howard first met Sheldon, he described him as a cross between C-3PO and Pee-Wee Herman (C3-Pee-Wee Herman). In a bid to improve their sometimes frosty friendship, Howard invited Sheldon along to see him give a speech at NASA in Houston. When their aeroplane was subject to strong turbulence, a terrified Howard and Sheldon both apologized to each other for their past behavior.
Howard and Leonard's friendship is much simpler than his with Sheldon, as they both generally respect each other. Howard described how he and Raj only became friends with Sheldon because they already liked Leonard.
From the moment they first met, Howard's inappropriate hitting on Penny gave her the creeps, and she struggled to befriend him like she did the other guys. Over time, Penny got to know the nice and sometimes sad guy underneath Howard's horny exterior, but she still was uncomfortable with his "creepy candy coating". After Howard and Bernadette started dating, Penny has been impressed by how much Howard has matured and left behind his former sleaziness.
Howard and Stuart have generally had a cordial friendship, though they were never particularly close. When Howard went to space, Raj bonded with Stuart and, upon his return, Howard was somewhat jealous of their new friendship. Howard's relationship with Stuart deteriorated when Stuart moved in with Mrs. Wolowitz, at Howard's suggestion, to take care of her after an accident. When Stuart become very close to Debbie, Howard thought he was mooching off her. Howard angered further when Stuart invited Howard's cousin Jeanie to a party. Mrs. Wolowitz's support as Stuart re-opened the comic book store also upset Howard, though he moved past this after Mrs. Wolowitz died. After Stuart finally moved out of Howard and Bernadette's home two years after moving in, Howard and Bernadette realized they missed him. Stuart moved back into Howard and Bernadette's house after being evicted. Stuart helped them out around the house while Bernadette was pregnant and, after Halley was born, he took on some of the baby care responsibilities.
Unlike Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, Amy and Bernadette, Howard does not have a Ph.D., instead having a master's degree from MIT. Sheldon is often condescending and derisory towards Howard for his lack of a degree and about engineering in general.
Howard's work has often included projects for NASA, even though he once crashed the Mars rover in a ditch while trying to impress a woman. Howard co-designed the Pishkin-Wolowitz Liquid Waste Disposal system, though a fatal flaw which he was unable to fix caused a messy incident aboard the space station.
When NASA selected Howard's team's design for a deep field space probe, Howard got the opportunity to visit the International Space Station as a payload specialist. After a bad time in survival training, Howard's mission to space was temporarily scrubbed, causing him some relief. When NASA later reinstated the mission, Howard had a heart to heart with Bernadette's dad, Mike, who encouraged him to go to space.
Howard's time in space was anything but pleasant as the other astronauts made him do grunt work and generally bullied him. Still, Howard couldn't help himself from repeatedly bringing up his time in space when he returned to earth, much to the annoyance of those around him. When NASA offered Howard the opportunity to go back to space, he was eager to recreate his most important accomplishment. Bernadette and Raj attempted to talk Howard out of it and, when he found out he would have to do survival training again, Howard faked his medical so he couldn't be part of another space mission.
When Howard realized he needed to earn more money to support a family, he came up with the idea that Sheldon and Leonard's work on superfluid helium could be used to develop quantum vortices for a guidance system. When the guys learned that the university would take most of the profits from their patent, while Howard would be excluded completely because he was on loan from NASA, Sheldon and Leonard agreed to split their share of the patent with Howard.
Howard grew paranoid when he was contacted by the Air Force following the guys' patent application for their guidance system. When Howard and the guys finally met Colonel Williams, they agreed to work on the developing the project for the military. As their project was now classified, the guys moved their work into a secret government lab. They soon realized the timescale they had agreed to was far too optimistic, but Colonel Williams was not fazed by a government contractor running late.
After working with Sheldon became too much to bear, Leonard and Howard devised a plan to distract Sheldon from their work. Unfortunately, Colonel Williams noticed Sheldon's incomplete work on making the gyroscope even smaller and demanded the guys make it so. Leonard and Howard struggled in vain to complete the work without Sheldon, but in the end they had to get him back. When the guys finally finished the first stage of development on the project, their celebrations were cut short when they arrived at the lab to find their work had been seized by the military who were taking control of the project.
When Amy invited Howard to join her on research into neuroprosthetics, he and Amy worked well together. As they bonded over their shared interest in the music of another Neil - this time, Sedaka, they spent a large amount of time together - much to the irritation of Sheldon, Raj and Bernadette.
Leonard and Howard were furious when they found out that Sheldon had been working with the military on their project, behind their backs. After they turned to Barry Kripke to beat Sheldon to submitting a project to the military, Leonard and Howard were angered when Kripke submitted his own proposal without them.
- Howard's full name is Howard Joel Wolowitz.
- Howard's astronaut nickname was "Froot Loops".
- Howard wears an alien pin on his collar in every episode, though this has not been explained.
- According to Bernadette, Howard weighs 118 pounds.
- Howard lived with his mother in Altadena, California, until he moved out to live with Bernadette.
- Howard's online username is Wolowizard.
- Howard is allergic to peanuts.
- The character is named after a former colleague of The Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady's.
- Howard reportedly once went to medical school but dropped out as he can't stand the sight of blood or injuries.
- Howard is the only one of the main five to have been born in California, though Amy and Bernadette also originate from the state.
Howard: You know, I'm really glad you decided to learn Mandarin.
Howard: Once you're fluent, you'll have a billion more people to annoy instead of me.
Sheldon: Sheldon Cooper does not cry.
Howard: That's true, you'd rust.
Howard: I invented a game. Want to play?
Howard: It's called Emily or Cinnamon. I give you actual quotes I've heard Raj say, and you guess if he was talking to his girlfriend or his dog.
Howard: So you can never take it (the sweater) off?
Raj: Not even to sleep?
Howard: So you're just an idiot?
Leonard: It's called proving a point.
Howard: Is the point you're an idiot?
Howard: Settle this. Those little animated pictures on the Internet, are they called "gifs" or "jifs"?
Leonard: Well, the G stands for "graphics." That's a hard G, so I'd say "gif."
Raj: What? The guy who invented it says it's "jif."
Howard: I'm sorry, do you mean the guy or the juy?