The sixth episode of CBS “Young Sheldon” revealed another secret about everyone’s favorite “Big Bang Theory” character. The episode revealed Sheldon’s first introduction to the world of theoretical physics.
It turns out that curiosity is less to blame for Sheldon’s preferred field of study as much as spite. When a NASA scientist had the gall to talk down to the genius youngster during a speech at his science class, he takes it personally. Sheldon vows to crack the mathematical code that he’s working on just to prove he’s better.
Unfortunately, it quickly becomes apparent that he’ll be unable to do so without the assistance of a computer. After a family discussion about Meemaw meeting with a lawyer about her will, Sheldon goes to her house to ask how much she’s planning to leave him once she dies. She slams the door in his face before asking if he wants to try again. Instead of shelling out $2,000 for an Apple, she gives him $9 and a peso. After a failed attempt to remortgage their home, Sheldon quickly realizes that he may have to settle for building a bare-bones version of what he needs.
He asks his mother to take him to Radio Shack so he can buy a modem, but she refuses until the weekend. This prompts the child to throw his version of a tantrum. His parents, and Meemaw, don’t like the idea that he’s getting so out of control, so they agree to punish him by postponing the Radio Shack trip for a month. It looks like the plan is working, until the nine-year-old develops a stress ulcer.
Fortunately, they get him some treatment and he’s able to continue to pluck away at his equation. Somehow, without the assistance of the computer equipment he needs, he cracks the math. He consolidates his findings in a notebook and his mom helps him ship it off to NASA.
For days, he waits, checking the mailbox every day for a response. When the lack of attention from the scientific community begins to depress him, Sheldon’s father, George Sr. of all people, decides to stick up for his son. He tells him that the family is taking a trip to Houston so that Sheldon can present his work in person.
“You take him seriously or you’re going to have to take me seriously,” he threatens, prompting the scientist to meet with Sheldon.
When it’s all said and done, Sheldon is vindicated in that he outsmarted the man who talked down to him. However, his work is only sound in theory. The technology to execute on what he suggests doesn’t exist.
“So I’m ahead of my time?” he asks. “Well, call me when you catch up.”
Just like that, he’s won his first victory in the scientific community, and developed a love for theoretical physics that fans know will last to the present day. However, the episode ends with a little button explaining that Sheldon may be more prolific than we think. After a successful launch of the SpaceX rocket, Elon Musk is seen alone in his office thumbing through the notebook Sheldon sent NASA all those years ago.