The Big Bang Theory

The Proton Displacement

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"The Proton Displacement" is the seventh episode of the seventh season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. The episode first aired on Thursday, November 7, 2013.


Sheldon and Leonard meet Professor Proton (Arthur Jeffries) again, who chooses Leonard to collaborate on his paper instead of Sheldon, which upsets the latter. Sheldon then brings in Bill Nye as his new idol, but is soon ditched by Nye.

Extended Plot


Spotting Professor Proton at the drug store.

Sheldon is running around the drug store. Amy remarks that she has never seen him so happy. Leonard explains that it is "Restock Your Medicine Cabinet Day" at the store. Sheldon sees Professor Proton in the pharmacy line. Sheldon finds it's interesting that he is just standing in line like he wasn't moderately famous thirty-years ago. Sheldon wants to go over and say "hello". Leonard feels that they shouldn't bother him. Sheldon is not going to bother him; he is going to talk to him. Leonard quips that he thinks that there is a difference. Sheldon reintroduces himself since he doesn't think that he'll remember him due to his advanced age. Professor Proton does remember him. Sheldon then introduces his girlfriend, Amy. The Professor is surprised at learning that Sheldon has a girlfriend. Amy then shakes his hand and then notes that they have the same orthopedic shoes. She can't believe that she dresses like a celebrity. Professor Proton then understands how he has a girlfriend. Leonard reintroduces himself. He does remember HIS girlfriend, Penny. Sheldon wonders what prescription he was getting filled. Leonard starts to object, when Sheldon say not to tell him. Professor Proton wasn't going to tell him. Sheldon asks if it has to do with difficulty in initiating a stream. Given his age, he says that that is more than a lucky guess. Leonard suggests that he go over and mock the people in the homeopathic medicine aisle. Sheldon replies that he wants to hang out with his friend who he thinks looks happy, but is not.

At the Caltech cafeteria, Howard is talking about the girls' night that Bernadette is having at their place. Raj reluctantly admits that he is going even though they are making jewelry which was his idea. Raj objects that he is very comfortable with his masculinity. Howard asks him how that's even possible. Leonard then gets an email from Professor Proton. He is working on a paper about nano-vacuum tubes and he wants Leonard to read it. Sheldon figures that the Professor should be asking him. He does have two emails from the Professor asking for Leonard's email address. Howard wonders who would cry over a paper by some old guy who hasn't done any science in decades. Sheldon Cooper DOESN'T cry. Howard agreed and said that he rusts.


Amy can't tell Sheldon that he is annoying.

Later in apartment 4A, Amy is preparing tea as Sheldon wonders why he ever idolized him since he's just another Hollywood phony. Amy wonders if it is worth getting upset over. Sheldon says that you shouldn't met your heroes and don't peek behind that curtain of fame and celebrity because you see them as they really are, degenerate carnival folk. Amy reminds him that he is just a retired kid's show host. Sheldon replies that that is worse since he uses the sweet candy of science to trick children into loving him. Then he calls him a pervert. Amy then asks Sheldon why he thinks that Arthur didn't want him to read his paper. Sheldon figures that the prescription he picked up at the pharmacy was for coo-coo pills. Amy suggests that he found Sheldon too much. Sheldon demonstrates that he has already mastered the three basic social skills. The coy smile, friendly chuckle and the vocalization of sympathy, "Ahhhh." Amy tries to suggest that Leonard and Arthur may have found him...Annoying, but she can't say it. Sheldon knows she wants to say "annoying", and repetitively demands that Amy call him "annoying" - very annoyingly. Amy leaves without a word. Sheldon then remarks that she can't stand it when he is right.


Penny is having problems with the glue.

At Howard and Bernadette's apartment, the jewelry making session is in full swing. Amy is going to feel like a vixen wearing something that doesn't list the medications she is allergic to. Penny has glue all over her hands. Amy wonders if she doesn't know how to use glue because she dropped out of pre-school. Penny agreed, but that was only because she was dating a second grader at the time. Howard comes in and Raj tells him to go ahead and start with the girl jokes. Howard told him to not worry about it since Bernadette told him that it wasn't nice. Howard tells him that he doesn't want to joke about the things he wants to have fu-un with referring to the Cyndi Lauper song. Bernadette is making a necklace. Amy is making a bracelet. Penny is making a mess. Howard suggests that they use his soldering iron to make even cooler stuff. Raj tells him that they are doing fine. The girls want to try it out so Howard goes off to get his equipment while Penny finds a pistachio nut glued to her arm. 

Sheldon goes over to Professor Proton's house and knocks on his front door. "Knock. Knock. Knock. Arthur. Knock. Knock. Knock. Arthur. Knock. Knock. Knock. Arthur."  Sheldon remarks that he has a door knocker due to being a television star. Arthur wants to know what Sheldon is doing there. He woke him because it is 7:30 in the evening. Sheldon apologizes for not being there earlier because Arthur's home wasn't on his map of Hollywood stars. Sheldon tells him that Amy pointed out that he might have been annoying. Arthur called Amy "a keeper".  Sheldon apologizes which Arthur quickly accepts, says good night and tries to close the door. Sheldon also wants to talk about the paper he gave to Leonard who calls it "promising". Sheldon is ready to collaborate with him and that working with "Sheldon Cooper" will be a plus since others think that he is a washed-up has-been or dead. Arthur claims that he should be so lucky and that he would rather stick with Leonard. Sheldon concludes that it is because he is annoying and demands Proton to call him annoying as he had with Amy. Professor Proton eventually does so, and shuts the door at his face. Sheldon then walks away from everyone exclaiming how much that hurts.


Leonard working with Arthur Jeffries.

Another day, Leonard and Professor Proton are in Leonard's lab with Leonard telling him that if people had told him thirty years later he would be working on science with Professor Proton, he would not have believed them. Arthur quips that if people had told him that people would still be calling him Professor Proton at the age of 83, he would not have stopped smoking. Leonard apologizes to Dr. Jeffries and told him how interesting his project was. Sheldon wanders into the lab and tells them what a odd coincidence that they were both there since he is also spending the day with another beloved children's science personality. He introduces his new friend and colleague, Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Sheldon tells Arthur that he replaced him with a newer model. Bill Nye finds it an honor to meet Arthur Jeffries since his show was based on Professor Proton. Arthur snaps as him that that was what he had told his lawyers, implying that they have had a lawsuit concerning the originality of Bill Nye's science show. Leonard apologies to Nye for have been drawn into Sheldon's squabble. Nye insists that he was told he would be teaching a class. Sheldon corrects him that he was told that he would be teaching someone a lesson. Sheldon then leaves. Nye expresses an interest in the nano vacuum tube project. Arthur gets angry and says, "Haven't you stolen enough from me? Back off, Bow Tie!" 

Penny's earrings from Target

Penny's earrings from Target

Amy, Raj and Penny are working on jewelry at Penny's place. Penny shows them some earrings, though she bought them at the Target store for $4.98. Raj is working on a bracelet for his mother who is going through a hard time with his father. He can't stand her voice and wants to rip off his ears and sew them to his eyes so he doesn't have to look at her anymore. Bernadette shows up with Howard and his soldering equipment. He plans to put the "Jew" in "jewelry" night. Bernadette tells him that sure it sounds funnier when he says it. Raj didn't know that he was coming. Howard had had a blast last week so he showed up thinking that they might like to have a man show up. A slightly tipsy Penny laughs and then retreats saying that that is not funny. Howard brought silver, molds and a torch to melt the silver. Penny thinks that that looks like fun. Bernadette suggests that she master glue before she steps up to fire. Amy asks Raj if he wants to make a bracelet for his mother to go along with the necklace. He declines. Howard would do that if his mother had a neck.

Leonard and Arthur continue to working and are about ready to test their equipment. Arthur is so excited that it makes him feels like seventy-five again. Leonard received a picture from Sheldon of him and Bill Nye having smoothies together. Arthur asks why he puts up with Sheldon.  Leonard replies that he is his friend. "Why?" Arthur asks. Leonard tells Arthur that he asks really hard questions. Leonard explains that Sheldon is aggravating, however; he is not doing it on purpose. Sheldon is loyal, trustworthy and they have a lot of fun together. Arthur comments that he is describing a dog. Leonard does acknowledge that Sheldon did bite him once. Sheldon is the smartest person Leonard has ever met. He is a little broken, but Sheldon needs him and Leonard needs Sheldon. Arthur then asks why does Leonard need him and Leonard tells him that he just won't let this subject go. Finally, Leonard gets a text from Sheldon saying that he needs a ride home since Bill Nye left him at the smoothie store.

Howard's tools

Howard is helping the girls with making jewelry with special tools.

In Apartment 4B, Howard is helping the girls with their handcrafted jewelry. He claims that he can take some of their hair, compress it into a small diamond using a hydraulic press at work and the diamond would contain their very own DNA code. Then he quips that Bernadette's engagement ring came off his mother's back. Bernadette denies it. Raj complains that Howard makes fun of him coming to girls' night and now he is ruining it for everyone. Penny says for him to cool it since he is going to make them hair diamonds. Howard asks Raj what is wrong. Raj tells him that he comes to girls' night so that he can open up about his feelings. Howard replies that he can do that with him. Raj is more comfortable talking to the girls since they don't make fun of him and his feminine activities. Howard apologizes since he didn't know that his joking around hurt. He adds that it was very brave of Raj to tell him. While the girls are watching, Amy comments that Raj and Howard are going to have sex before she and Sheldon will.


Arthur wants to know if there are any more at home his age like her.

Later in Apartment 4A, Arthur Jeffries visits Sheldon. Sheldon is surprised that he was there. So was Arthur who started to see a bright white light about the third floor. Sheldon offers to get Leonard, however Arthur came to see Sheldon. Sheldon remarks that if he wants to contact Bill Nye, he can't do it. His former idol is now Bill Nye, the restraining order guy. Arthur asks him to look at his paper and Sheldon tells him that it would be an honor. Then Sheldon adds that he hacked into Arthur's email account and already read it. Arthur asks what he thinks. Sheldon starts with he thinks its pathetic using his birth date as a password. The paper, Sheldon feels, is inspired. Arthur thanks him. Sheldon invites him in for tea, however he has to run. Penny come in, greets him and Arthur changes his mind.

Finally, to show friendship, Raj makes a belt buckle for Howard, which displays a transparent miniature of light saber that can be lit. And he then reveals he also made one for himself, and says they can have a "little sword fights" that have sexual overtones.

Back at Sheldon's apartment, Sheldon is now describing his eighth favorite episode of the Professor Proton series which was the Alka-Seltzer rocket. Arthur is not looking happy. Sheldon remembers that his joke from that episode was "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a blastoff it is." Sheldon runs off to get some Alka-Seltzer so they can recreate the experiment. He wants to fire it at Bill Nye's house as long as they stay at least 500 feet away from it per the restraining order. Leonard again apologizes that Sheldon really can't help it. Arthur then asks if Penny has any single grandmothers. Penny does, however; they are married. He then wonders if they are happily married. Penny give him a noncommittal response (comme ci, comme ça) which makes Arthur happier.




  • Henry Wedberg for IGN- "This episode was that best by far. You got Professor Proton, Bill Nye, it's like a science fiesta! But Bill Nye was only there for like 5 seconds, so I got to take that point off. Beside Bill Nye's short screen time, I really enjoyed this week's episode and laughed consistently when Raj was being made fun of my Howard."
  • Jesse Schedeen for IGN- As with the Season 6 episode, "The Proton Resurgence," Newhart's presence alone was enough to make this a memorable installment... Seeing Newhart butt heads with Nye was pretty great, and I only wish we had seen a little more of that rivalry before Sheldon drove his latest celebrity man-crush into filing a restraining order. [1]
  • Dhruv Rao of The DR Club gave the episode a B, advising the writers "try and revise the scripts' lines and try and make 'em flowing." [2]
  • IMDb user reviews


  • Title Reference: Professor Proton getting replaced/displaced by Bill Nye the Science Guy as Sheldon's Idol after he picks Leonard to review his research paper.
  • Taping date: October 15, 2013.
  • Chuck Lorre's vanity card. [3]
  • This episode was watched by 16.89 million people with a rating of 4.9 (adults 18-49).
  • Total viewers including DVR users 22.48 million.
  • The Big Bang Theory was ranked #2 for the week ending November 10, 2013.
  • This episode did not air on Thursday, October 31, 2013. It skipped Halloween and aired the following week, November 7th.
  • First sweeps month's episode.
  • This episode aired in Canada on November 7, 2013 with 3.547 million viewers with a weekly ranking of #1.
  • In the United Kingdom, this episode aired on December 12, 2013 with 2.17 million viewers and a weekly ranking of #1.
  • Episode transcript [4]

Costume Notes


Sinostro/Yellow Lantern shirt


  • Professor Proton and Bill Nye appear as guest stars in this episode. This time is the second appearance of Professor Proton, the first was in "The Proton Resurgence".
  • Arthur believes that Bill Nye ripped off his show (and apparently he considered suing about it at once point). This has left him bitter.
  • Leonard collaborates with Professor Proton on a paper about vacuum nanoelectronics. He previously conducted research on nanoelectronics in "The Gorilla Experiment".
  • Raj gives an explanation about why he likes to hang out with the girls.
  • Leonard gives an explanation about why he puts up with Sheldon and takes Sheldon as a friend. Leonard comments that Sheldon could be aggravating, but he is not doing it on purpose; it's just how he is. Previously in "The Hawking Excitation" (S5E21), Bernadette made a similar comment: "Sheldon doesn't know when he's being mean, because the part of his brain that should know is getting a wedgie from the rest of his brain."
  • Leonard reveals that Sheldon has bitten him once. In fact, Sheldon previously admitted "I'm a biter" in "The Friendship Contraction" (S5E15).
  • Including this episode Sheldon has got at least four restraining orders from celebrities: Leonard Nimoy (got before and mentioned in "The Excelsior Acquisition", S3E16), Stan Lee (got in  "The Excelsior Acquisition"), Carl Sagan (mentioned in "The Vacation Solution", S5E16), and in this episode he gets a new one from Bill Nye.
  • Howard claims, "You know, if you guys are interested, there's a technique where I can take a lock of your hair, refine it into carbon dust, and use the hydraulic press at work to turn it into a tiny little diamond with your DNA in it." The formation of diamond requires high temperature and extremely high pressure, in which the DNA is improbable to be preserved.
  • Howard makes a reference to Cyndi Lauper and her song "Girls Just Want To Have Fun".
  • Amy likes Sheldon's coy smile, but not his chuckle or sympathy "ahh."
  • Penny states that she skipped most of pre-school due to dating a second grader. However, in "The Robotic Manipulation" (S4E1), Penny revealed that she started dating at 14.
  • Professor Proton's comment about giving up smoking may refer to Bob Newhart's movie "Cold Turkey" he played a cigarette company executive who didn't want a town to give up smoking for 30 days to win $25 million.
  • Sheldon wears a Sinestro Corps shirt in thedrug store which unlike the red lantern shirt does not point out his emotion-he is happy but it symbolizes fear.
  • Bernadette shares no scenes with Sheldon and Leonard in this episode.
  • It doesn't make sense that Penny doesn't know how to use glue in this episode, because in S2E18 "The Work Song Nanocluster" she clearly knew how to use a glue gun to make her "Penny Blossoms"
  • For the second time, Penny is very out of character, reduced to a dumb blonde caricature, in an episode featuring Professor Proton.


Professor Proton: (to Bill Nye the Science Guy): Back off, bow tie!

Howard: You know, if you guys are interested, there’s a technique where I can take a lock of your hair, refine it into carbon dust and use the hydraulic press at work to turn it into a tiny little diamond with your DNA in it.
Penny: Oh, that’s amazing,
Howard: Yeah. See Bernie’s engagement ring? That came right off my mom’s back.
Bernadette: He’s kidding. If that were true, it’d be so much bigger.
Raj: (imitating Howard) My name is Howard. I can make your hair into diamonds. My mom is morbidly obese. Everybody love me. Yeugh.
Howard: Whoa, where is that coming from?
Raj: I’ll tell you where it’s coming from. All you do is make fun of me for coming to girls’ night and now you’re here ruining it for everyone.
Penny: Raj, cool it, he’s gonna make us hair diamonds.
Howard: How am I ruining anything? I’m just trying to help you make better jewellery.
Raj: But this isn’t about the jewellery. This is about me having a place where I can open up about my feelings.
Howard: Since when can’t you open up with me?
Raj: There are just some things that I feel more comfortable sharing with the girls, because they won’t make fun of me or and call me names, or ask me if my "Koothrapanties" are in a bunch.
Howard: Buddy, I was just joking around.
Raj: Yeah, well, sometimes your jokes hurt.
Howard: You’re right. I didn’t realize I was making you feel that way. It was very brave of you to tell me.
Raj: Thank you. It wasn’t easy.
Amy: They’re gonna have sex before Sheldon and I do, I know it.
(Bernadette turns very cross and says nothing. the silent Penny gazes down at Raj and Howard with the jewellery making stuff).

Professor Proton: Can I ask you a question?
Leonard: Yeah, sure.
Professor Proton: Why do you put up with Sheldon?
Leonard: Oh, um, you know. Because we’re friends.
Professor Proton: Why?
Leonard: Wow. You ask really hard questions. Look, I know he can be aggravating, but you have to remember he’s not doing it on purpose. It’s just how he is. Oh, but he’s also loyal, and trustworthy and we have fun together.
Professor Proton: You know, you’re describing a dog.
Leonard: He did bite me once. But in his defense I came up behind him while he was eating.
Professor Proton: They hate that.
Leonard: You, know what. Sheldon is the smartest person I’ve ever met. He’s a little broke and he needs me. I guess I need him too.
Professor Proton: Why’s that?
Leonard: You will not let this go, will you. (his phone goes off)  Aw, geeze!
Professor Proton: What, Sheldon send you another photo?
Leonard: No, I gotta go pick him up.  Bill Nye ditched him at the smoothie place.
Professor Proton: Probably stole his wallet, too.

Professor Proton: So you have any single grandmothers?
Penny: Sorry, they’re both married.
Professor Proton: Happily? [Penny gives him a "so-so" hand expression.]

Sheldon: [Sheldon sees Professor Proton in the drug store] Look at him. Just standing in line like he wasn’t moderately famous thirty years ago. Let’s go say hello.
Leonard: Maybe we shouldn't bother him.
Sheldon: I’m not going to bother him. I’m going to talk to him.
Leonard: He thinks there’s a difference.

Sheldon: Using the sweet candy of science to trick children into loving him.

Amy: Have you ever thought about why Arthur didn't want you to read his paper?
Sheldon: Yes I have. My only conclusion is the prescription he was picking up the other day was for cuckoo pills.
Amy: Maybe he found you a bit much.
Sheldon: That’s kind of a stretch. But when it comes to social skills, I've mastered the big three. There’s the coy smile. There’s the friendly chuckle. Ha-ha-ha-haaaa. There’s the vocalization of sympathy. Ahhh. Well, that one’s tricky. I’m still working on it.
Amy: From what I saw the other day I can understand why he and…some people might find you…
Sheldon: What?
Amy: It doesn't matter.
Sheldon: No. Go ahead. Say it. I know what it is. I've heard it my whole life. The word’s annoying. Go ahead. Say it. Say it. Say, “I’m annoying.”
Amy: Sheldon.
Sheldon: Oh, it won’t hurt my feelings. Go ahead, Amy. Say, “I’m annoying.” “I’m annoying.” “I’m annoying.” “I’m annoying.” Now where are you going? You know you want to say it. Say it. Say, “I’m annoying.” Go ahead. Say it. Say it. Say it, Amy. Say it. [Amy leaves the apartment slamming the door.] Well, she can’t stand it when I’m right.

Leonard: Because it’s just so happens I’m also spending the day with a beloved children television science personality. Isn't that right new friend and colleague, Bill Nye, the Science Guy? Sorry I replaced you with a newer model.
Bill Nye: Wow, Arthur Jeffries. It’s an honor to meet you. My show never would have happened without yours.
Professor Proton: That’s what I told my lawyers.

Leonard: If you would have told me when I was a kid that someday I would have been doing science next to Professor Proton, I would not have believed you.
Professor Proton: If someone had told me that people would still be call me Professor Proton when I was 83 years old, I never would have quit smoking.

Penny: Hey, guys, what do you think?
Amy: Wow, Penny, good job.
Penny: Thanks. Target, four ninety-nine. I’m getting a drink.
Amy: What are you working on?
Raj: Ah, I’m making a necklace for my mom.
Amy: That’s sweet.
Raj: Yeah, she and my dad are going through a bit of a rough patch, so I wanted to do something to let her know I was thinking about her.
Penny: What’s going on with them?
Raj: They’re just having a little trouble communicating. My dad says it’s because the sound of my mom’s voice makes him want to tear his ears off and sew them over his eyes so he never has to look at her again.
Bernadette: Hi.
Penny: Hey, guys.
Amy: Hello.
Howard: Look who’s here to put the Jew in jewellery night.
Bernadette: Oh, sure, so it’s fine when you say it.
Howard: Sorry we’re late. I wanted to swing by the lab and pick up some even cooler tools for us to use.
Raj: I didn’t know you were coming again.
Howard: Well, last week was a blast. Plus, I thought you might like having a guy here.
Penny (laughing): It was not funny.
Amy: So, what tools did you bring?
Howard: Everything we need to make jewellery moulds. Here’s some silver, a crucible and an acetylene torch to melt it down.
Penny: Ooh, that looks like fun.
Bernadette: Maybe you should master glue before you move on to fire.
Howard: Okay, who’s up first?
Amy: Rajesh, do you want to make a bracelet for your mom to go with the necklace?
Raj: No, thanks.
Howard: I was gonna make a necklace for my mom, but unfortunately she doesn’t have a neck. She’s just chins and fat and feet.

Amy: This is fun. I’m going to feel like such a vixen wearing jewellery that doesn’t have a list of medications I’m allergic to.
Raj: Penny, how’s it going over there?
Penny: Good, I’m just having little trouble with the glue.
Amy: How do you not know how to use glue? Did you ditch pre-school?
Penny: Yeah, but only because I was dating a second grader.
Howard: Hello, everyone.
Raj: Okay, let me have it. Let’s hear all the Raj is a girl jokes.
Howard: Nope. Bernadette told me it isn’t nice and I’m not allowed.
Raj: Thank you.
Howard: So I won’t be making fun of you, or the things you like, or the fact that you just want to have fu-un.
Bernadette: Howie, stop. Come on, look at what I’m making.
Howard: Oh, that’s actually pretty nice.
Amy: I’m making a bracelet.
Penny: Yeah, I’m just making a mess.
Howard: You know, instead of beads and glue, you guys can use my soldering iron. You’d be able to make much cooler stuff.
Raj: Oh, I think we’re doing just fine, thank you.
Amy: Actually, I’d kind of like to try that.
Bernadette: Me, too.
Howard: Be right back.
Penny: When did I have pistachios?



  • [5] New Taping Report by Anonymous thumblr fan

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