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"The Junior Professor Solution" is the second episode of the eighth season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode aired on Monday, September 22, 2014, immediately after the first episode of the new season.


Sheldon is made a junior professor job by the university, but now has to teach graduate students. No one signs up for his course except Howard. Bernadette is worried that Penny won't perform well in the job that she got her based upon her performance as a waitress. Amy is thrilled to be in the middle of her friends' conflict, feeling popular for the first time.

Extended Plot[]


Good news from Human Resources.

While having dinner, Sheldon is describing a World War II project where Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin wanted to have human women impregnated by gorillas to produce super soldiers. Amy wondered what other animals could be crossed with humans to make an improvement on the human soldier? Leonard suggested hippos would make pretty bad-ass soldiers. Howard counters that when they are hungry-hungry, they could be stopped by marbles. Sheldon ends the discussion with the correct answer: koala. Their army would be so cute that it couldn't be attacked. Sheldon cuts off Raj when he suggests the owl. Penny's job starts next Monday and Bernadette is pushing Penny to finish studying the background material she has. Bernadette asks "When?" and Penny says that she will get to it. Sheldon senses the awkwardness, which Amy concurs with. Penny feels that they will teach her everything she needs to know; however, Bernadette just feels that they would be impressed if she was already familiar with the material. Penny doesn't want to be the teacher's pet, besides who has ever been hurt because they were the teacher's pet. Everyone puts their hand up.

Sheldon has a meeting with Janine Davis of Human Resources. Sheldon assumes that she wants to reopen their dialogue on him changing his field of study: "Please. No. Please. No. Please. No." Janine says that while he was away, the university worked on his problem and came up with a solution. Sheldon is please that his pouting and running away did work. His current grant is for researching string theory; however, promoting him to junior professor he can work on anything he chooses though he will have to teach a class. Sheldon describes their solution as giving him a promotion and paying him more money so he can impart his knowledge to the next generation. He then calls the university "just plain sick".

Amy is back to working with starfish when Penny comes over to have lunch with her. She is stimulating the pleasure centers of the starfish, but turns off the stimulation before she leaves so that the starfish doesn't have a better day than she is having. Penny didn't invite Bernadette to join them since is constantly bugging her to study. Amy figures that Bernadette thinks that she wants her to do well since she might not due to her poor performance as a waitress. Amy is uncomfortable talking about someone behind their back since she was usually the subject of the talk. Penny just needs a break. Amy says that sharing negative feelings can be a powerful bonding force between two friends. In the spirit of science she asks: What is that little skank's problem?" 


Amy consoling Penny over Bernadette's pushy behavior.

In the cafeteria, Raj is trying to come up with a cute couple's nickname for him and Emily, like "Emipali" or "Koothremily". Her last name is Sweeney and Raj doesn't like "Koothrapeeny". Sheldon shows up and describes the awful situation with his new promotion. He doesn't want to babysit a bunch of grad students who think that dark matter is what is in their diapers. Leonard tells Sheldon that he likes to tell people that they are wrong. "Wrong!" Sheldon replies. Sheldon also likes to give out grades and listen to his own voice, which are both required for teaching. Leonard tells him that it is a way to let him go on and study dark matter. Sheldon has had many heroes who took people under their wings. Richard Feynman. Albert Einstein. Professor Xavier. Some of Doctor X's students really had wings, Sheldon notes and was the only one laughing. He plans to use that joke in his class after everyone fails the midterm.

Amy is continuing her pleasure center research with her starfish (You like that, don't you?), when Bernadette Skypes in. She invites Amy out for a drink without Penny since she is frustrated with her. Amy asks if she is mad because Penny isn't trying hard enough. Bernadette jumps in that she sees that. Also, via Instagram, Bernadette saw that Penny went out to lunch and got a manicure, as Amy hides her nails. Amy adds that it's like Penny doesn't even care and that Amy is there for Bernadette, now playing both sides of their fight. 

Leonard, Raj and Howard find Sheldon in his empty classroom. No one signed up because Sheldon has a reputation for being obnoxious. Leonard goes, "Whaaaat?", trying to be comforting. Now Sheldon can devote all his time to the study of dark matter. He has some Fig Newtons on his table and was going to ask what scientist invented calculus and had a cookie named after him. When they said Issac Newton, he would tell them that they were wrong; they were in fact named after a town in Massachusetts and then they would be thrown away. (The correct answer is of course Choco Leibniz.) Howard volunteers to take his class since he wants to start work on his doctorate. Sheldon thanks Howard, but doesn't think he would understand anything about it since it was a graduate level class. Howard insists that he is more than smart enough; he is an engineer. Sheldon throws three physics questions at him that he answers correctly. Sheldon still doesn't think he's smart enough. Howard tells Sheldon that he may have gone to school a couple more years than him, but engineers are just as smart as physicists. Sheldon wants him to take that back. 

Walking up the stairs Amy tells about Penny calling her to complain about Bernadette and then she gets a texting|text from Bernie. Sheldon is trying to prepare his lesson plans for Howard. According to Amy, it has taken fifteen years, but now high school is really awesome. She loves being in the center and now feels like she is the popular girl. Sheldon wants to figure out how to intellectually emasculate Howard. 

Late at night, Leonard comes in finding Sheldon creating a lesson plan that will make Howard feel lost. Leonard can't understand why Sheldon has to prove that he is smarter than Howard. Sheldon finds that a pleasure that that is his job as a teacher. Leonard feels that Sheldon finding someone that is as smart as or smarter than him frightens Sheldon. He does analyze his behind as a fear that causes him to lash out at things and then asks Leonard how he can use Howard's allergy to peanuts against him. 


Howard throwing a spit ball at his teacher, Sheldon.

Howard comes into Sheldon's classroom and tells him that Leonard warned him that he is going to make the course unbelievingly hard, in order to belittle him. If that is the case, Howard doesn't want to take the class. Should Sheldon make an effect to be a good teacher, Howard would give the class a shot. Sheldon agrees, then jumps on him when he finds something he doesn't know. Howard plugs in his iPod to ignore him. Since Sheldon is a bad teacher, Howard plans to be a crappy student. Then Howard makes a spitball shooter and propels one into Sheldon's mouth. The ball goes down his throat and Sheldon flees in fear.

Amy is enjoying being in the middle of Bernadette and Penny calling up Penny to go out and diss Bernadette. Penny is now studying to do well. Amy then calls up Bernadette to go out. Bernadette is planning on helping Penny study and thinks that they are being too hard on Penny. Everything is now good between Penny and Bernadette. Then she calls Sheldon who is trying to deal with the spitball in his mouth.

In the apartment, Leonard is looking down Sheldon's throat. Leonard assures him that his uvula doesn't have an STD. Howard goes back to confront Sheldon after Sheldon reported him to Human Resources; Wolowitz says that he dropped the course. Howard tells Sheldon that just because he asks him things he doesn't know, that doesn't make him smarter. Howard could do the same thing to him with questions about engineering. Sheldon answers the first two questions from Howard but when he gets to the third one is left speechless as he doesn't know the answer. Howard proceeds to taunt Sheldon at his lack of knowledge on engineering. At this point, Sheldon finally coughs up the spitball from his mouth.

Bernadette goes to help Penny and finds that she understands the background material she was given. Since they are done, she decides to call Amy since she really wanted to go out. She is listening behind the door and runs down the stairs to take the call.

Finally, the guys keep asking each other scientific questions, feeling proud that they are so smart, but lamenting that they still didn't get girls in high school. They were awkward, weird and couldn't play sports. Another right answer!



  • Title Reference: The title refers to Sheldon's new junior professor position at Caltech.
  • Taping date: August 19, 2014.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [1]
  • This episode was watched by 18.24 million people with a rating of 5.4 (adults 18–49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 24.18 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #3 for the week ending 28 September 2014.
  • This episode aired in Canada on September 22, 2014.
  • In Australia, it aired on October 13, 2014, with 1.127 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #3..
  • Episode transcript [2]


  • Jesse Schedeen for IGN - There wasn't a great deal of drama to be had this week in the wake of Sheldon's return...Thus began a new conflict between Sheldon and Wolowitz...One moment Sheldon is trying to stump his student with fancy mathematical jargon, the next Wolowitz is shooting a spitball into his mouth. Speaking of which, Sheldon's horrified reaction to that trick shot was easily the highlight of the episode...This was one of those rare weeks where Mayim Bialik got to steal the show as Amy. You really can't blame Amy for latching onto her brief moment of popularity as Bernadette and Penny feuded over Penny's reluctance to study up for her new job...This episode was very much classic Big Bang Theory in tone and humor. On some level it continues to disappoint how little the show has actually changed in the aftermath of the Season 7 finale. [3]
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a C+, calling the A-plot "while funny at times, was weak and the viewer could easily spot the flaws in writing." [4]
  • IMDb user reviews [5]


  • As was the case in "The Tenure Turbulence" (S6E20), this episode is based on an entirely nonsensical academic concept made up for the benefit of the show. There is no such thing as a "Junior Professor" in universities in the United States. The closest thing would be an "Assistant Professor", but this is either a tenure-track research position which Sheldon cannot be offered (he must apply for it over the course of a year) or a teaching position which involves no research at all. Again, Janine Davis would not be in a position to inform Sheldon of his appointment thusly.
  • In "The Relationship Diremption", Sheldon decides to give up on string theory, mentioning "exciting areas" such as black holes and dark matter. Leonard suggests the Standard Model of particle physics and loop quantum gravity for new fields of inquiry, while Amy posits nuclear matrix elements, all of which Sheldon quickly shoots down. In "The Anything Can Happen Recurrence" (S7E21), Sheldon considers research in cosmology, dark matter, CP violation in neutrino oscillations, proton decay, or axions. In "The Status Quo Combustion" (S7E24), he reveals he has chosen to change his field of study to inflationary cosmology, but in this episode he chooses dark matter.
  • Sheldon teaches a graduate-level physics class on Analytical Mechanics in this episode. His lecture particularly covers: (1) Variational Principles, (2) Mechanics on Manifolds, (3) Noether's Theorem, (4) Oscillations, (5) Canonical Formalism, (6) Hamilton-Jacobi Method, (7)Perturbation Theory, and (8) Action-Angle Variables. Notably, he inquires about Howard's familiarity with the brachistochrone problem, especially as it relates to the calculus of variations, and Euler-Lagrange theorems.
  • Another reason no students signed up for Sheldon's class could be due to his lecture in "The Thespian Catalyst (S4E14)," which was tweeted badly by all the students who attended.
  • The answer to Sheldon's question about which scientist contributed to the development of calculus and had a Leibniz-Keks cookie named after him is Leibniz, not Newton (it's meant as a trick question, and the correct answer is not revealed in the episode). Sheldon explains that the Fig Newton cookie was actually named after a town in Massachusetts, and not for the scientist; he had previously explained this to Penny in "The Gorilla Experiment" (S3E10).
  • The answer to Howard's third question, "how does the flow rate of a pipe depend on its diameter", is the flow rate is proportional to the 4th power of the diameter. This question is ironically simple compared to the other questions, as it's taught in high school physics classes.
  • In Sheldon's lecture room, there is a schedule of classes offered: 9A-Quantum Mech III; 10A-Numerical Analysis; 11A-Condensed Matter II; 1P-Plasma Physics; 2P-Mathematical Methods; 3P-Optical Physics.
  • In Amy's office, Sheldon's iPad can be seen in a stand, indicating that the cast is reusing props.The same iPad (with a bullet hole sticker) can be seen in the Season 5 episode "The Speckerman Recurrence" (S5E11), in the hands of Sheldon.See that iPad stand KUBI here.
  • Howard is thinking about getting his doctorate, after failing to do so when he dropped out of medical school.
  • Emily's surname Sweeney is verbally confirmed in this episode.
  • In "The Gorilla Experiment" (S3E10), Sheldon tries to teach Penny and fails. She also asks him about where the name for the Fig Newton came from and uses that fact to impress the guys at the end of the episode. Sheldon tells the same facts in this episode about the Fig Newton.
  • The first return of Bernadette's office at Zangen since its only physical appearance in "The Higgs Boson Observation" (S6E3). It was also shown a couple of times on Skype in one of the opening scenes of "The Santa Simulation" (S6E11). Her office at Zangen all looks new around Bernadette in this episode.
  • Bernadette does not wear her white Zangen lab coat/uniform (which is seen behind her back on her chair) in her office at Zangen since at the same time as Amy in her office lab at Caltech while they are both talking on the phone together. Both Bernadette and Amy in their white lab coats/uniforms were not made for the storyline of the two phone chat scenes of this episode anyway.
  • The junior solution did not work since by season 11 Sheldon was back working on string theory.
  • The section of the whiteboard containing the information that Sheldon says "even [he] [doesn't] understand" is an incorrect translation into modal logic of Gödel's ontological argument for the existence of God.


(The opening scene where the gang are having dinner at the apartment)
Sheldon: I recently read that during World War Two, Joseph Stalin had a research program to create supersoldiers by having women impregnated by gorillas.
(Scene of Penny frowning for a second)
Howard: What a sick use of science.
Raj: Hey, as long as the baby’s healthy.
Amy: I wonder if Stalin considered any other animals.
Leonard: Hippos are the deadliest creature. A half-human, half-hippo soldier would be pretty badass.
Howard: Yes, but when they’re hungry-hungry, you can stop them with marbles.
Sheldon: Yeah, the correct animal for interspecies supersolider is koala. You would wind up with an army so cute it couldn’t be attacked.
Raj: But half-man, half-owl could fly…
Sheldon: The answer is cuddly soldiers with big flat noses. Moving on.
Howard: So, Penny, when’s the new job start?
Penny: Next Monday.
Bernadette: Did you get a chance to look over the materials I gave you?
Penny: Uh, not yet, but I will.
Bernadette: Great. When?
Penny: I said I’ll get to it.
Sheldon: I’m sensing awkwardness, am I right?
Amy: Yes.
Sheldon: Swish.
Bernadette: I don’t want to be pushy, but you’ve never done pharmaceutical sales before. It seems like you could use this time to get a head start.
Penny: Well, the first few weeks will be all training. They’ll tell me everything I need to know.
Bernadette: But imagine how impressed they’d be if you showed up already familiar with the material.
Penny: Okay, so what, you want me to be like a teacher’s pet?
Bernadette: Couldn’t hurt.
Leonard: Mm, I don’t know. Who here has ever been hurt because they were the teacher’s pet?
(The five gang members who work at Caltech (all four guys and Amy) put their hands up. Bernadette smiles crossly by this and says nothing. Penny silently frowns for a second. This could mean both Bernadette and Penny don't know much about some of their work at Caltech so far)
Sheldon: It was like the rest of the class wanted Ms. McDonald to forget the quiz.
(Sheldon just shakes his head and the opening theme begins)

Janine Davis: Dr. Cooper. While you were away we came up with a solution that will allow you to change your field of study.
Sheldon: Wow. Pouting and running away actually worked. Yes, I must say that may not be a lesson you want to reinforce with me.

Sheldon: So your solution is to promote me and pay me more money so I can impart my knowledge to the next generation of scientists?
Janine Davis: Yes.
Sheldon: You people are sick.

Penny: Hey, you ready to go to lunch?
Amy: Just give me a minute. I am stimulating the pleasure cells of this starfish. I just need to turn it off.
Penny: Then what happens if you don’t?
Amy: Then I have to sit through lunch knowing that the starfish is having a better day than I am. Is Bernadette meeting us at the restaurant?
Penny: Uh, no. Actually, I didn’t invite her.
Amy: How come?
Penny: Well, ever since she helped me get this job, she won’t stop bugging me.
Amy: Well, I think she just wants you to do well, and she’s worried that you won’t ’cause you were just a stunningly poor waitress.
Penny: That is not true.
Amy: I’m still waiting on my mini corndogs from two years ago.
Penny: (angry) I told you, they’ll be right out.
Amy: Okay, so no Bernadette.
Penny: Well, you saw her the other night. Am I wrong?
Amy: No, I just, I feel kind of uncomfortable talking about her like this. Usually when someone’s being talked about behind their back, it’s me and it’s right in front of my face.
Penny: I’m sorry. I just need a little break from her.
Amy: I understand. You know, there is some research that indicates that sharing negative attitudes about a third party can be a powerful bonding force between two friends.
Penny: So what are you saying?
Amy: I’m saying in the spirit of science, what is that little skank's problem?

Leonard: Hey. We came to see how your class was going. Where is everybody?
Sheldon: There is no class.
Howard: Did you send everyone to the principal’s office already?
Sheldon: No one signed up.
Leonard: Well, that’s not your fault.
Sheldon: I called the department secretary to see what happened. Apparently I have a reputation for being obnoxious.
Leonard: Wha-a-at?

Howard: Come on. You might have gone to school for a couple years more than me, but engineers are just as smart as physicists.
Sheldon: {Gasps} You take that back!
Howard: (smug) No.

Leonard: Sheldon, why are you doing this?
Sheldon: I’m a teacher, Leonard. It’s my job.
Leonard: No, I mean why are you going to so much trouble to prove that you’re smarter than Wolowitz?
Sheldon: Oh it’s no trouble. It’s actually a pleasure.
Leonard: You know what I think? I think that the idea that someone could be smarter than you, or even smarter, scares the pants off you and you can’t deal with it.
Sheldon: Interesting point. You’re suggesting I have emotional issues below my consciousness that drives my behavior, thus causing me to lash out at anything or anyone that threatens my intellectual superiority.
Leonard: Might be something to think about.
Sheldon: Leonard?
Leonard: Yeah?
Sheldon: Howard’s allergic to peanuts. How might I use that against him?

Amy: Because it’s taken fifteen years, but high school is finally awesome. I love them both, but I’m in the center now and I love that even more.
Sheldon: Amy, please. I am trying to figure out a way to intellectually emasculate a dear friend of mine.
Amy: But I’m just…
Sheldon: Not now.
Amy: You better watch that attitude, buddy. You’re dating a popular girl now.

Amy: Measuring starfish serotonin levels in response to one point two molar stimulation of pleasure cells. You like that, don’t you? That’s right, say my name.
Bernadette: (on Skype) Hey.
Amy: Hey, what’s going on?
Bernadette: (out of vision through Skype) Not much. (Scene of Bernadette on Skype) You want to get a drink later? Just the two of us?
Amy: No Penny?
Bernadette: (she's so frustrated) Not tonight. I’m a little frustrated with her.
Amy: Because you got her the job and you think she should be working harder to prepare for it?
Bernadette: (she scoffs and she now gets very cross) So it’s not just me. You see it, too.
Amy: I do, I see it.
Bernadette: (1st time: she's still very cross) It’s driving me crazy. Just this afternoon, I saw on Instagram that instead of studying, she went out to lunch and got a manicure.
Amy: That’s outrageous.
Bernadette: (2nd time: she's still very cross) I know.
Amy: If she doesn’t do well, this could reflect poorly on you.
Bernadette: (3rd time: she's still very cross) Exactly. Does she not realize it or does she not care?
Amy: I don’t know. The important thing is I am here for you so we can mutually disparage this unpleasing third party.
(Amy shakes her head madly and Bernadette huffs quietly)

Amy (on phone): Hey, girlfriend. Can I get a what what? :
Penny: What?
Amy: Close enough. Um, I was just calling to see what you were up tonight. Thought maybe we could hit up Color Me Mine, maybe sneak in some Pinot Greej. Whatevs.
Penny: Uh, thanks, but I think I’m gonna stay in and go over the stuff Bernadette gave me.
Amy: Oh. Oh, I hear you. Try and get that nag off your back, right? I mean, you’re not a bicycle, why’s she riding you like that?
Penny: No, I think she was just trying to help. Plus, I really want to do well at this job. So…
Amy: Okay, good luck. And call me later, you know, if you decide she’s a bitch or something. Hey, girlfriend
(Scene of Bernadette's office at Zangen)
Bernadette: Hey, Amy.
Amy: Tonight. You, me, Color Me Mine. Maybe we sneak in some Pinot, make it Color Me Wine.
Bernadette: That sounds fun, but I promised Penny I’d come by and help her study.
Amy: (laughs) Oh. Well, good luck getting her to do that. She’s probably off getting another manicure. You remember when she did that? You remember?
Bernadette: I was probably being too hard on her. We talked, we’re good.
Amy: Oh. Great. I’m happy for you guys. You know, when the two of you aren’t getting along, it puts me in a really weird position.
Bernadette: Well, don’t worry, everything’s back to normal.
Amy: You mean, like, where she’s nice to your face? Okay got it. Bye. Hey, boyfriend.
Sheldon: Can’t talk. Spitball. Probably gonna die.

(Scene: Penny’s apartment)
Bernadette: Okay, what are the potential side effects for our erectile dysfunction drug?
Penny: Headaches, dizziness and nausea.
Bernadette: Yes.
Penny: Those are also the side effects of having a 75-year-old man with an erection climb on top of you.
Bernadette: Want to stop here?
Penny: Uh, no. I can keep going.
Bernadette: Nah, you got this. Let’s go for a drink. I’ll call Amy.
Penny: Okay, good. She seemed like she really wanted to go out tonight.
(Amy has overheard all of it through Penny's door. she immediately runs down the stairs. halfway down the stairs Amy's cell phone rings and she stops by the broken elevator to answer it)
Amy: (answering her phone) Hey, girl.



  • [6] Taping Report by Jiab Pattira