California Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Caltech) is a private research university in Pasadena, California, where most of the main characters of The Big Bang Theory work. Caltech operates the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The university's Departments include Physics, Astronomy, Applied Physics, Engineering, Geology, Chemistry, Biology, Entomology, Neurology, Pharmacology, and Humanities.
As of "The Jerusalem Duality", the physics research facility doesn't have an open science grid computer or a free-electron laser, but Department Chair Dr. Eric Gablehauser says they are in the process of updating their equipment. By "The Friendship Algorithm" and "The Euclid Alternative', Caltech acquires this new equipment. Benefactor Mrs. Latham donates millions of dollars to the physics department to get a cryogenic centrifugal pump and molecular sieve, while Sheldon expresses a need for a new linear accelerator. In "The Cooper/Kripke Inversion", there is work on a grant proposal for a new fusion reactor. Other machines owned by the department include a nitrogen laser, a 500 kW oxygen-iodine laser, a helium-neon laser, an electron accelerator, an integrated ion trap and time-of-flight mass spectrometer, a front-projected holographic display combined with laser-based finger tracking, maglev technology and a mainframe in Buckman 204. The physics facilities include a laser lab, radiation lab, particle physics lab, plasma lab, kinetics lab, and photo-multiplier lab. Aside from the physics laboratories, there is a primate lab, biology lab with mice and rats as well as radioactive isotopes, genetics lab with glow-in-the-dark bunny, chem lab with micro-porous charcoal, materials science lab with an atomic force microscope, and geology lab with shakers. The neurology department has a culture of prions.
The head of the university is President Siebert. Most of the faculty named are affiliated with the Department of Physics, among them, the less well-known Professor Finkleday, Elliot Wong (had a little mishap with high energy radiation research), Professor Goldfarb, Fishman, Chen, Chowdry, McNair, Von Gerlick, Fishbine (started showing up at work in his bathrobe), Professor Norton (hasn’t published anything of note since he won the Nobel Prize), Professor Hoskins, Mindy, Dr. Nakamora (the Swedes disproved his theory), Professor Davenport, Professor Stevens, Professor Tupperman (died in his office), Professor Wu (is on the tenure committee), and Professor Roger Abbott (died, leaving boxes of papers), as well as possibly Professor Wilkinson and Professor Guyster. Dr. Randall is faculty in the Department of Geology, while the Swedish Dr. Gunderson is presumably from the Department of Biology. Doctor Morelli and Doctor Gustafson are prominent in the Primatology Department and are known to Amy, who refers to them as the "Brangelina" of Primatology.
Loeb Building, Parking Lot and Bends Building
These appear in "The Parking Spot Escalation". The Loeb Building seems to be where the gang work; the parking lot is just outside the main entrance of the Loeb Building, in which Sheldon and Howard have a fight on the parking spot 294. During their fighting, the Bends Building can be seen nearby.
The Cafeteria has been seen in numerous episodes and is commonly where the guys get lunch or chat while at Caltech. It has a set of doors on the right side of the room with a food bar on the left side. There are 3 vending machines on the right side wall of the room. There are also around 20+ tables. A poster for The Journal of Chemical Physics is sometimes visible in the cafeteria, as is a poster of neutrinos and another for biophotonics. The space was cleared for the introduction of Dennis Kim to the physics faculty. There is also a President's dining room with the same food as the Cafeteria, only fresh.
Sheldon's office is seen in many episodes as well. It is to the right of the Lecture Hall and to the left of A1 - A5. The plaque on his door initially reads: SHELDON COOPER (followed by) Ph.D. PARTICLE THEORY. However, it is later changed to: SHELDON COOPER, PhD. (followed by) PARTICLE THEORY. It features Sheldon's desk, a series of book shelves and about 5 - 10 white boards. It is also Rajesh Koothrappali's office after he begins to work with Sheldon, with a paper banner on the door underneath Sheldon's plaque: RAJESH KOOTHRAPPALI, PhD.; later a permanent plaque replaces the paper and reads: RAJESH KOOTHRAPPALI, PhD. (followed by) ASTROPHYSICS. Raj brings in a "Brobdingnagian" desk in "The Hot Troll Deviation", and it is still there as seen in "The Good Guy Fluctuation" and onward. The room also has Sheldon's Stevenson Award, framed near the door inside (the certificate is signed incorrectly Sheldon Lee Cooper, Ph.D., as he had not yet received a doctorate when he was the recipient). Additionally, an issue of the The Journal of Physical Chemistry A (Dynamics, Kinetics, Environmental Chemistry, Spectroscopy, Structure, Theory) with a picture of Sheldon on the cover is framed in his office, later moved along with other stuff to his new office. The poster Standard Model of FUNDAMENTAL PARTICLES AND INTERACTIONS, which has also been seen around the cafeteria and the experimental physics lab, is on the wall opposing his room. Once, next to the left of his door, was a placard, GRADUATE SEMINAR 269B, Spring 2007 NEUTRINO PHYSICS Professor David Saltzberg, which also appeared in the auditorium. Rajesh receives this office for himself when Sheldon moves to a new one, taking his effects with him, as seen in "The 43 Peculiarity". In "The Rothman Disintegration", Raj previously said he would miss sharing the office with Sheldon. Raj has adorned his office with images from the Hubble Space Telescope, such as of the Hourglass Nebula, and celestial trinkets sit atop his desk. The small bookshelf behind the desk contains books on planetary astronomy.
In "The Rothman Disintegration", Sheldon and Kripke compete for Professor Rothman's office, with Sheldon eventually getting it. The plaque on the door reads: ROBB ROTHMAN PhD (followed by) THEORETICAL PHYSICIST; Sheldon replaces it with his plaque: SHELDON COOPER, PhD. (followed by) PARTICLE THEORY. Room 1709 is across the hall. The interior has two whiteboards (originally with a physics and engineering fields flowchart including a spelling error of "Leptions" on one of them), a large opening window, desks, a sofa, bookcase, and filing cabinets, while a poster of a supernova is seen to the left outside entrance. The air vent is really intense in the room, the thermostat is next door in Professor Davenport's office ("who is currently enjoying the hotflashes associated with menopause"), the mockingbird is out of tune with the wind chimes outside the window (the board filled with musical notes of the chimes and bird), there's a giant hole in the wall that Sheldon gets his head stuck in (Sheldon postulates "there was something in the wall that someone outside the wall wanted or, the more disturbing, there was something in the wall that wanted out"), and the room is directly under the geology lab with its shakers causing vibrations. These problems appear to be gone by "The Higgs Boson Observation" and Sheldon has fully settled into his space. Sheldon's graduate assistant Alex Jensen is often seen here. Now, inside, the framed issue of the The Journal of Physical Chemistry A hangs on his wall to the right of the whiteboard, with his framed doctoral diploma to the left of the whiteboard, and he has an Albert Einstein Bobblehead on his desk. Outside, the supernova poster is replaced by a SPIE THE PROMISE OF NANOTECHNOLOGY poster (later seen in the cafeteria).
Rajesh's Old Office
Raj's office, before he receives Fishbine's large office or shares and takes over Sheldon's office, is the smallest seen thus far. Aside from the two desks, a cabinet, model rockets, a green chalk board, and two bookshelves fill the space. The plaque on the door reads: RAJESH KOOTHRAPPALI (followed by) Ph. D. ASTRO PHYSICS. To the right of his door is a poster for a colloquium in Budapest, Hungary entitled Astroparticle Physics Current Issues, 2007. An earlier poster, DARK MATTER, has also appeared there. Both have been posted around Sheldon's office as well.
Astronomy Remote Observing Room
In "The Boyfriend Complexity", Raj spends twelve hours in this control room for a ground-based telescope operating in Hawaii. In "The Proton Resurgence", Raj refers to the room informally as the "telescope lab" when announcing his weekend work plans, and it is viewed for the second time. His Yorkie, Cinnamon, even makes an appearance here while Skyping. It contains a coffee maker, sofa, computers, and several posters. Raj had sinner with his crush Isabella in his lab. He also works with Sheldon in it when they discover and asteroid and he takes his then fiancée Anu to show it to her.
The Experimental Physics Lab
The Lab where Leonard and Leslie Winkle work is a larger room (a tad smaller than the cafeteria) and has a series of tables. This Lab has been shown in "The Fuzzy Boots Corollary" and "The Hamburger Postulate". Both the Fundamental Particles and Interactions and Astroparticle Physics posters can be seen on the wall. Leslie uses a 500 kW oxygen-iodine laser to heat Ramen Instant Noodles and liquid nitrogen, 320 degrees below zero, to break up a banana in this room.
Leonard's own lab appears in "The Gorilla Experiment", "The Psychic Vortex", "The Irish Pub Formulation", "The Apology Insufficiency", "The Holographic Excitation", and "The Raiders Minimization" with a white board, pencil sharpener, computer monitors, and experimental equipment such as an integrated ion trap and time-of-flight mass spectrometer, an electron accelerator, a helium-neon laser, a nitrogen laser, a front-projected holographic display combined with laser-based finger tracking, and maglev technology. The plaque on the door reads: Leonard Hofstadter, PhD. (followed by) B-27. HE and Penny have also had sex in it a couple of times. He also consults with Professor Proton there and has sex with Penny in his lab.
Astronautical Engineering Lab
ASTRONAUTICAL ENGINEERING, as the plaque on the door reads, is where Howard works. It's only been shown once (in 'The Jerusalem Duality") when Sheldon visits. It has white walls and has a row of desks with Howard's in front of the others. It also has numerous posters of physics and engineering, including one for ATLAS Physics, on the walls.
Mechanical Engineering Lab
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING LAB, as the plaque on the door reads, or Howard's personal lab (seen in "The Infestation Hypothesis", "The Transporter Malfunction", "The Hawking Excitation", "The Launch Acceleration", and "The Cooper/Kripke Inversion"), has his MIT Engineering Diploma, a wedding photo, tool cabinets (one with a NASA picture), a desk, and various equipment including an oxy-acetylene torch, a $175,000 hydraulic thermoforming press, a laser and, albeit temporarily, a "1200 XT 3-D Modeler Pro Series" 3-D printer. Howard's office is around here, but it is unseen.
Mars Rover Lab (Deep Space Operations Center)
The Mars Rover control room (room 105) at JPL has only been shown once, when Howard got the Mars Rover stuck in a ditch. The guys tried to fix it, but settled on erasing the data tapes, grabbing the security camera tapes, wiping their fingerprints from all the surfaces and running. A sign reads: "Restricted Area by Order of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration - Unauthorized Persons Who Enter May be Subject to Prosecution Under 18 U.S.C. 799 - Form 1500A."
The Plasma Lab (Barry Kripke's Lab)
The Kinetics Lab
Physics Faculty Lounge
The Physics Department parties are held in this room, shown in "The Luminous Fish Effect". Raj takes delight in the buffet table including fruit, vegetables, bagels, and pastries. Department head Eric Gablehauser is introduced to the faculty here, before he fires Sheldon. At the last department party, Dr. Finkleday cornered Sheldon and talked about spelunking for 45 minutes.
Eric Gablehauser's Office
The Head of the Physics Department (Professor Eric Gablehauser) has a larger office than Sheldon's. It's only been shown in a few episodes so far ("The Luminous Fish Effect" and "The Barbarian Sublimation"). The plaque on the door reads: PROF. ERIC GABLEHAUSER (followed by) DEPARTMENT CHAIR.
Professor Laughlin's Office
Professor Laughlin's office is observed once in "The Pirate Solution" when Rajesh is interviewed by the British astronomer for a chance to join his stellar evolution research team. The plaque on the door reads: PROF. LAUGHLIN, PhD. (followed by) ASTRONOMY. His office is furnished with celestial and planetary globes, an astrolabe, an orerry, several astronomical posters (featuring supernova remnants and planetary atmospheres), a small bronze telescope replica, a wooden bookcase with science books and an antique Dollond telescope, wooden lockboxes, metal filing cabinets, cushioned chairs, a wooden desk with a computer, and a window. Precariously, it also contains an area atop a table with a silver platter and copita for pouring a sherry, of which there are two selections.
Amy Farrah Fowler's biology lab in seasons 7–9, temporarily assigned while conducting research on monkey behavior via visual stimuli at Caltech, was shown in "The Workplace Proximity". It consists of various microscopes, a centrifuge, a stainless steel table, a desk, a computer, and storage units. She was still assigned there the rest of the series.
Professor Crawley's Lab
Professor Crawley's lab was only shown once, it has rows of tables with glass cages on them featuring all kinds of different insects, bugs and arachnids. Professor Crawley was forced to leave the lab when his funding was cut off to go live with his daughter in Oxnard. So it's unknown what is of the lab today (however it's strongly suggested that the Physics Department took over the Lab after he left). The door has signs that read AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY and ENTOMOLOGY DEPARTMENT.
The Geology Laboratory is used as one location in the scavenger hunt that Raj planned in "The Scavenger Vortex". In this laboratory there are two tall large shelves on which rock specimens are laid out, and several desks with computers. Later Leonard dreamed that he stole a meteorite from the lab.
In "The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem", Leonard and Sheldon conduct the graduate research seminar for incoming students, with Leonard representing experimental physics and Sheldon representing theoretical physics. The room has a green chalkboard, podium, tables, student desks, window, and a flatscreen, as well as double doors and a post-it board in the back. A sign reads AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.
In "The Thespian Catalyst", Sheldon is a guest lecturer on topological insulators to doctoral candidates. The room has a whiteboard, podium, several seats on each level, block windows, and doors at the side and back.
Norton Hall Multipurpose Room
In "The Psychic Vortex", the Norton Hall Multipurpose Room is seen. Raj repeats the following from the university web site: "7pm to 10pm, Norton Hall Multipurpose Room, mixer for grad students and faculty of the science and humanities departments. Whether you split atoms or infinitives, this is the place to be." Sheldon and Raj meet Abby and Martha in this room, and see Professor Wilkinson's wife.
In "The Tenure Turbulence", Professor Tupperman's memorial service is held in this MULTIPURPOSE ROOM. Outside the room, photographs of the Caltech campus with its Spanish mission architecture are prominent.
In "The Bat Jar Conjecture", the 29th Annual Physics Bowl is held in the auditorium. It has a raised carpeted platform, two tables, a podium, two flatscreens, a post-it board, artificial plant, and split seating on the lower level.
In "The Rothman Disintegration", Sheldon and Kripke try to resolve who will get Professor Rothman's office with President Siebert in the restroom. A poster for postdoctoral research opportunities is on the wall next to the urinals. In the previous episode, "The Vacation Solution", Sheldon mentions that Siebert doesn't like to be bothered by him in the restroom.
In "The 43 Peculiarity", Sheldon disappears everyday from 2:45 PM to 3:05 PM, going to an old storage room. A spare camera from the Mars rover is set up in here by Howard after he picked the lock. It has a green chalkboard, folding tables and chairs, an electrical box, a hanging light bulb, and some brooms.
In "The Egg Salad Equivalency", after Alex Jensen filed a complaint accusing Sheldon of inappropriate behavior in the workplace, Sheldon wound up getting himself and the other guys sent to the Human Resources Department. The office of Janine Davis has a plaque that reads HUMAN RESOURCES, later changed to JANINE DAVIS (followed by) DIRECTOR EMPLOYEE RELATIONS. Raj aptly likened their situation to being called down to the principal's office, as the setting is also very comparable, with the chairs in the waiting area aligned by the door that leads to a spartan office. Before Howard met Bernadette, he would come here every other day and so is familiar with Mrs. Davis' family. The office appears again several times including in "The Tenure Turbulence"
In "The Jerusalem Duality", Leonard states the rec center has Nautilus® equipment, to which Dennis Kim reveals he doesn't lift weights. In "The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis", Leonard refers to David Underhill wanting to take him to the gym, presumably this one. In "The Alien Parasite Hypothesis", Raj mentions taking a Pilates class at the rec center. The recreation center is shown in "The Tenure Turbulence", with cardio equipment including three elliptical trainers and two treadmills, as well as strength training equipment consisting of weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls. Posters with exercise instructions for using various equipment line the back wall, while gym rules are near the sectioned-off entryway.
In "The Alien Parasite Hypothesis", Howard and Raj attempt to wrestle one another with Leonard as referee in a gym. The layout has some similarities to the rec center, so may be in the same area of the university, and the walls sport the same gym rules and similar painting decor. The flooring has a wood-grain appearance and blue wrestling folding mats cover much of the space. There is a green chalkboard with tactics on display next to several weights and the heavy double doors to the left.
In "The Rothman Disintegration", Sheldon and Kripke compete for Professor Rothman's office in a basketball challenge, with Leonard serving as referee once more and Raj and Howard being merely spectators. The indoor court has the apparent hardwood floor surface and green chalkboard comparable to the wrestling gym, but has the same posters of the rec center, accompanied by the ubiquitous gym rules. Yet, it is a third gym layout with the exit on the right. A rack of basketballs and long, narrow benches are visible. It has a very high ceiling
The Clean Room
In "The Clean Room Infiltration", Howard and Leonard and are performing an experiment that needs a clean or sterile environment; however, Howard lets a pigeon in that might soil their experiment. Unfortunately the cleam room has direct access to an exterior loading area which has an exterior door to the outside.
- California Institute of Technology on Wikipedia