The Laureate Accumulation Season 12, Episode 18 -  Aired April 4, 2019

The Laureate Accumulation

After their Nobel prize competitors, Drs. Pemberton and Campbell, go on a publicity tour, Sheldon and Amy seek support from a trio of Nobel laureates: Kip Thorne, George Smoot and Frances Arnold. Meanwhile, Bernadette has the idea of turning Howard's time as an astronaut into a children's book.

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Guest Stars: Kevin Sussman as Stuart, Joshua Malina as President Siebert, Sean Astin as Dr. Pemberton, Kal Penn as Dr. Campbell, Dr. George F. Smoot as Himself, Dr. Frances H. Arnold as Herself, Kip Thorne as Himself

Writers: Steve Holland (Story), Adam Faberman (Story), David Saltzberg, Ph.D (Story), Dave Goetsch (Teleplay), Eric Kaplan (Teleplay), Maria Ferrari (Teleplay)

Director: Mark Cendrowski

Available on iTunes

Episode Notes

  • The title refers to Sheldon and Amy's effort to gather support from Nobel laureates.

> Sheldon's Knock

When Sheldon goes to the hotel room of Dr. Pemberton and Dr. Campbell, he knocks on the door and calls for each of them individually before addressing them jointly.

*knock knock knock* Dr. Pemberton.
*knock knock knock* Dr. Campbell.
*knock knock knock* Doctors Pemberton and Campbell.

Episode Quotes

President Siebert: Look, it doesn't matter if they have popular support, we're gonna get the scientific community behind us.
Leonard: He's right, the Nobel Prize is about the work, and as your fellow scientists, we support you and Amy.
President Siebert: That's great, Scooby Gang.

[Halley crying]
Howard: I'll go talk to her.
Bernadette: I don't know why she's suddenly so afraid of everything.
Howard: Honey, remember, she's my child, too.

President Siebert: Dr. Cooper, there you are. I just wanted to tell you not to worry about this Pemberton and Campbell publicity blitz.
Sheldon: Are you worried?
President Siebert: Not at all. Not even a little bit. [manic laugh]

President Siebert: Now, the university is gonna host a reception for you and Dr.
Fowler where we invite as many academic luminaries as we can, uh, give them a chance to meet you, hear about your work.
Leonard: Uh, that's a great idea.
President Siebert: Uh, yeah. Who needs to be likable when you have Nobel Laureates campaigning for you?
Sheldon: Oh, yeah- Wait a minute. Do you not think we're likable?
President Siebert: That's what's great about you, you never stop asking the tough questions.

Sheldon: Look at this. They posted another video. It's not even about science. They're on a celebrity bus tour.
Raj: Those are fun. I went on one and saw Tom Hanks talking to his gardener. He's even nice when you plant the wrong color azaleas.

News Stories

Title Date Posted
1218 'The Laureate Accumulation' Press Release March 16, 2019

CBS has released the synopsis for the next episode of The Big Bang Theory, "The Laureate Accumulation", which airs Thursday, April 4.  Full story


As the gang gather in the apartment to watch Drs. Pemberton and Campbell be interviewed by Ellen, Amy is upset that the two people who are trying to take credit for their theory are getting such publicity. Sheldon is hoping Ellen will expose them as the coattail-riding frauds that they are. Ellen introduces Campbell and Pemberton, who she says have been posting viral videos on the Internet about what it’s like to be in the running for a Nobel prize. When she asks them about their big discovery, Pemberton jokes that they may not even be smart enough to understand it. Amy is worried that the audience seems to like them.

When Sheldon goes to Drs. Pemberton and Campbell’s hotel room to confront them, he tells them he is angry they went on TV and were charming. After Sheldon asks them to hold a press conference where they admit they blindly stumbled into superasymmetry and it was really his and Amy’s discovery, Pemberton says no thanks. Dr. Campbell argues that just because they proved something by accident doesn’t mean they didn’t prove it.

As the guys eat lunch in the university cafeteria, Sheldon says the FermiLab guys have posted another video. Leonard wonders why it matters that the guys are good at self-promotion. President Siebert comes over and tells Sheldon not to worry about the publicity blitz from Campbell and Pemberton. Siebert says it doesn’t matter if they have popular support because he’s going to get the scientific community behind Sheldon and Amy. Siebert tells Sheldon the university is going to hold a reception for him and Amy and they will invite as many scientific luminaries as they can.

When Howard arrives home, Bernadette says she’s been struggling for hours to get the kids to fall asleep. Halley is scared of the dark and Michael is afraid of the nightlight. When Halley starts crying, Howard decides to go talk to her. Bernadette listens as Howard goes to the kids’ room to comfort Halley. To get her over her fear of the dark, Howard tells her the story of someone who was once afraid of the dark: her daddy when he went to space.

In their apartment, Amy tells Sheldon that the university is inviting several Nobel laureates to their reception. After Amy mentions Makoto Kobayashi, Sheldon admits he was less than kind to him about his Nobel prize win. When she mentions George Smoot, Sheldon concedes he history with him also. Amy can add Saul Perlmutter and Kip Thorne to the list of people Sheldon has alienated whose help they now need.

In her living room, Bernadette is drawing a cartoon when Stuart arrives back. When Stuart asks whether Halley drew the cartoon at preschool, Bernadette admits it’s her work and was supposed to be an astronaut. Bernadette explains how Halley was scared and Howard told her the story of his time in space. Bernadette thought it would make a good book for Halley and Michael. Stuart offers to do the drawings for Bernadette.

As Leonard and Penny do the dishes in the apartment kitchen, Sheldon and Amy arrive to ask if they have any cookie dough. After Amy explains they are baking cookies for the Nobel laureates they need to get on their side, Leonard and Penny wonder whether the brilliant minds won’t just see through the ruse.

When George Smoot notices a package is from Sheldon Cooper, he throws it straight in the trash. After Kip Thorne is handed a package from Sheldon, he gives it straight back. Frances Arnold is pleased to open the package from Sheldon, until she discover the cookies are oatmeal raisin. Elsewhere, as Sheldon and Amy eat dinner in their apartment, Sheldon receives an email from Saul Perlmutter. Sheldon thinks he arranged the cookies to spell out “Thank You”, but Amy points out that the word isn’t thank.

When Bernadette returns home to find Howard and Raj playing video games, she tells Howard she got him a surprise. She explains she overheard him telling Halley that story the other night, and she thought it was so sweet that she and Stuart turned it into a book: “The Frightened Little Astronaut”. Howard is not enthusiastic when he sees the cover art featuring a tiny, scared version of him. Bernadette says a publisher friend of Stuart’s is interested in publishing the book, but Howard says absolutely not. He doesn’t want the whole world to know he was the frightened little astronaut.

As Sheldon nurses a drink at Leonard’s breakfast bar, Leonard asks if he wants to talk about what’s going on. Sheldon admits he feels really bad for Amy as his mistakes might stop her from getting a Nobel prize. Meanwhile, as Amy and Penny do laundry, Penny is surprised that none of the scientists they invited are coming to the reception. After Penny asks what Sheldon could have said that was so insulting to the scientists, she doesn’t quite grasp the withering nature when Amy repeats Sheldon’s remarks. Back in the apartment, Sheldon says he wishes he could invent a time machine to go back and prevent himself from acting so rashly. Sheldon thinks his problem is he doesn't always know when he’s gone too far. Leonard offers to let him know when he’s crossing a line with the code word “Shut up.”

When Stuart goes to talk to Howard in the living room, he mentions that Bernadette said he wasn’t crazy about the book. Howard insists that’s not true, but says he doesn’t want anyone to ever see the book or know it exists. Stuart says the book could be really good for him to finally get his artwork published. Stuart argues it’s a cute story, but Howard says that’s easy for him to say as nobody is going to think he’s a coward. When Howard asks if they could take his name off, Stuart admits the only reason the publisher is interested is because a real astronaut wrote it. Howard suggests a few changes: renaming it “The Brave Astronaut” and instead of crying, have him punching meteorites with his bare hands.

When Leonard and Penny go to Kip Thorne’s office to talk to him about Sheldon, Professor Thorne doesn’t want to hear it. Penny argues that although Sheldon is a pain in the ass, Amy’s really nice so if you average them out you’ve got someone who is okay. Leonard encourages Kip Thorne to give them a chance as science has a history of difficult people.

In their living room, Bernadette looks through the reworked version of the story book which features a muscular Howard with pecs. Bernadette tells him that what she liked about the original story was that it was real, but nothing in this version actually happened to him. She thinks the real story was sweet. She points out that even though the little astronaut was afraid, he still went to space. Howard admits he doesn’t want to relieve the other astronauts making fun of him in space. Bernadette concedes it would take a brave man to put an embarrassing story like that out into the world so frightened children wouldn’t feel so alone. Bernadette tells Howard she’s proud of him and doesn’t think he has any reason to be embarrassed.

At the reception dinner, Sheldon and Amy go over to thank Leonard and Penny for convincing the Nobel laureates to come. After Leonard and Penny encourage them to go talk to some smart people, Sheldon and Amy walk over to President Siebert, who was just talking to Frances Arnold about how Sheldon and Amy came up with their theory of superasymmetry at their wedding.

Penny and Leonard are worried when they see Campbell and Pemberton arrive at the reception. When the scientists walk over to Sheldon and Amy, they say it’s good to see them. Amy tells them this is their reception and they should go away, but Sheldon tells Amy he thinks they should stay and enjoy themselves. Sheldon explains to Amy that if the two doctors stay, everyone will see their grasp of superasymmetry is tenuous at best. After Sheldon and Amy walk over to Campbell and Pemberton as they chat with Kip Thorne, Sheldon asks them a question about superasymmetry. Unfortunately, when Amy gives her opinion and Sheldon’s alternative view, Campbell simply says he agrees with Sheldon without having to offer an explanation.

When Campbell and Pemberton thank them and say they couldn’t have proved superasymmetry without them, Sheldon loudly claims they just admitted they didn’t do any work. Leonard intervenes to stop Sheldon from going too far. After Dr. Campbell asks them if they have ever felt like they didn’t deserve their success, Sheldon wants to say something but Leonard once again stops him from making a scene. Dr. Pemberton says they feel like impostors even though they conclusively proved the theory. After Dr. Campbell says there should be a term for that, Amy snaps and yells that there is a term for that, “Impostor Syndrome”. Amy loudly tells them they can’t have that as they are actually impostors. She labels them frauds who didn’t do any of the work. After Amy’s outburst, Sheldon wonders if that’s what he would have sounded like without Leonard’s intervention.

In the kids’ bedroom, Howard reads from the “Scared Little Astronaut”. The story is true to Bernadette’s original at first, but then Howard says the astronaut was only pretending to be scared to trick the alien king. Standing by the door, Bernadette corrects him and Howard admits there was no alien.