The Big Bang Theory gave us years of entertainment with a very brainy Sheldon Cooper and his pretty smart friends who are navigating life together. But Sheldon had his moments when he was most annoying, and this is one that goes at the top of the list.
In Season 1, Episode 9 of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper came up with an idea, and Leonard set up a test to confirm its validity. Because of that, he was invited to give a speech, a prestigious honor for a professor of Theoretical Physics trying to get attention in his field. But our arrogant Sheldon Cooper read the invitation and threw it in the trash, citing that he was the lead scientist on the project, and he vetoed the engagement.
Several issues are at play here. He didn’t even consult Leonard about it, and he forbade Leonard to go as if he had the authority to make that call. But the main issue here is that he came up with the idea, and Leonard did the work. Sheldon Cooper is standing on the premise that coming up with the idea is the most important thing when it comes to science.
Skip ahead to Season 8, Episode 18 of The Big Bang Theory, and the entire conversation flip-flops. In his most contradictory moment throughout the series, Leonard comes up with an idea and consults Sheldon about it, who likes it. He likes it so much that while Leonard is asleep that night, Sheldon works out the math and writes a paper about it.
After publishing the paper with Leonard, it catches some attention. When a journalist calls Sheldon to learn more about the discovery, he gives the interview and lets the journalist believe that he is the lead on the project. When they publish the article, Leonard isn’t even mentioned in it.
This leads to a conversation about ideas versus work again. Only the shoe is on the other foot. Sheldon argues that the idea isn’t as important as the execution, and he’s more than comfortable with taking credit for the whole thing. For someone to be considered such a genius, he really didn’t have his thoughts together as you might think. Contradiction shouldn’t exist in a mind that thinks so highly of itself.