The Big Bang Theory Wiki

Dr. van Doornewaard is a renowned string theorist and visiting professor at the University of Heidelberg in the mid-1990s. On the nonstop flight to Frankfurt, Germany for his summer research program studying superstrings at that very same university, Sheldon Cooper refers to him as the Dmitri Mendeleev of physics and marvels at him sitting in row E of the coach class compartment like a "regular Joe", wanting to have him autograph his vomit bag. Dr. van Doornewaard is known for his mirror symmetry theory, for which the prodigy was a huge fan and expressed that he may want to consider applying it to enumerative geometry. When the seat belt sign on the flight went off, the theorist was met by Sheldon rushing to introduce himself and inquiring if he thought physicists were ever going to discover the equivalence of heterotic and supergravity string theories. Dr. van Doornewaard confidently affirmed this, surmising it would turn the theory of quantum gravity upside down. Sharing laughter at times in their discourse, the professor seemed delighted to learn of Sheldon's studies at the institution in Heidelberg and at the prospect of a visit while at the university. (A Tornado, a 10-Hour Flight and a Darn Fine Ring)


  • Dr. van Doornewaard is played by Oliver Muirhead, who previously appeared in Season 3 of The Big Bang Theory as the English astronomer Professor Laughlin. In reality, Hans van Doornewaard is a supervising producer or co-producer who has worked on almost a hundred episodes of Young Sheldon as of this episode introducing the character.
  • Sheldon holds Dr. van Doornewaard in esteem, as evidenced by him distinguishing the theorist from a "regular Joe", a smug designation (or variant thereof) that the elder Sheldon would reserve for others and later liken himself to for occasions in which one of the great minds of the 21st century was relegated to mundane circumstances unbefitting his cerebral stature (TBBT:S1E4, TBBT:S5E6).