Dr Sheldon Lee Cooper B.S., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., Sc.D.
Sheldon is arguably the most famous and popular character in The Big Bang Theory. He is played by Jim Parsons, who has won several awards for his portrayal of Sheldon, including Two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a TCA Award, and a Critics’ Choice Television Award. The name Sheldon Cooper is in homage to the actor/producer Sheldon Leonard, and Nobel Prize winner, Leon Cooper. He actually has a real-life asteroid named after him, Asteroid 246247 Sheldoncooper, and also a species of bee, Euglossa Bazinga, after his famous (and now trademarked by Warner Brothers) catchphrase.
Dr Sheldon Lee Cooper B.S., M.S., M.A., Ph.D., Sc.D. works as a theoretical particle physicist at Caltech University. Caltech (or The Californian Institute of Technology, founded in 1981) is commonly regarded as a pioneering university for science, physics and engineering in the USA, and has a high reputation within the scientific community. It is a private research university and boasts 31 Nobel Prize winners within its alumni and faculty. This is probably why Sheldon has chosen to work at Caltech, obsessed as he is to win a Nobel Prize! Previous to this, he was a visiting professor at the Heidelberg Institute, part of the oldest university in Germany. Dr Cooper’s work is vast, but mainly related to string theory and M-Theory. Interestingly, he has looked into particle cosmology, studying relations in particle physics and cosmology at the start of our universe, or The Big Bang!
Sheldon is originally from Galveston, Texas. He has a twin sister, Missy, (played by Courtney Henggeler) who we meet in the episode The PorkChop Indeterminacy.
She is very different to Sheldon, having none of his relationship issues or extreme intelligence, yet is very amiable and witty. He also has an elder brother George Jnr (mentioned in The Luminous Fish Effect) he, as of writing, has yet to make an appearance on the show. His Father, George Snr died before the series began, sometime between 1993 and 2007, at the age of 50. We are not sure of the exact cause of death, but are led to believe that it was related to weight issues due to Mrs Cooper’s cooking. Sheldon’s mother, Mary Cooper (played by Laurie Metcalf) is still alive and has made several guest appearances, the first being in The Luminous Fish Effect. She is a devout Evangelical Christian, and a good mother to Sheldon, much to the envy of Leonard. His mother is much more distant and not a maternal woman. Sheldon loves his mother dearly, but they struggle to understand each other, with her religious beliefs classing with Sheldon’s scientific, logical persona.
We know a little of Sheldon’s childhood through references made in the show. It was obviously unique due to his genius level intelligence, which meant that he was a child prodigy. He was bullied at school and referred to his childhood as ‘hell’. He seems to have spent most of it writing scientific papers, conducting experiments and building prototypes, to varying degrees of success. He once built a sonic death ray to scare the neighbourhood kids, which thankfully didn’t work, but did end up annoying their dog. His sister’s guinea pig, Snowball, was also a victim to these earlier inventions. He died in a mishap involving a home-made CAT scanner, which also resulted in Sheldon being hospitalised. To be fair, Sheldon did try and use his genius to help his town and attempted to build a nuclear reactor in order to provide everyone with free electricity. However, the government intervened and said that he was not allowed to store yellowcake uranium in the shed, which brought the free electricity project to an abrupt end. Sheldon was 14 when he graduated – summa cum laude, meaning with highest honor – from the University of Texas at Austin. At 16 received his first doctorate. His next 4 years were spent on his second dissertation, before moving on to Caltech.
Sheldon’s character begins to develop after the fourth or fifth episode. Before this he seems quite inconsistent with the Sheldon Cooper we know and Love! People have commented that Sheldon appears to have aspergers syndrome, and OCD. The creators claim that his behaviour is simply ‘Sheldony’ and can’t be labelled as one thing or another. Sheldon is certainly a complex person, with an exceptionally high IQ of 187 (see The Pancake Batter Anomaly) and photographic memory. He certainly has traits of OCD. These include labelling everything in the apartment, having a very precise schedule, arranging things in order (his cereals are placed according to their GI value), excessive cleanliness, showering twice a day, meal planning etc. However, he has been known to deviate from his established pattern if needed, such as when he took Penny to hospital when she slipped in the bath.
People with Aspergers are characterised as having a lack of empathy toward others, have difficulty forming relationships and knowing how to act in social situations. Sheldon certainly shows these symptoms at times, yet despite feeling he is intellectually superior to his friends, he still seeks out their company and enjoys social interaction with them eg. Halo night, Bowling night, going to the Comic Store etc. He can develop friendships with others, and accepts Penny into the group relatively quickly. He and Penny sing ‘soft kitty’ to each other when they are ill, and have a close relationship. Sheldon goes to great lengths to see Penny after she and Leonard split up, not wanting to loss her as a friend. He even lies to Leonard, puts sausages down his pants and gets chased by a dog to keep a dinner date with her (see The Spaghetti Catalyst)!
Sheldon’s interests include comics, superheroes, role playing games, paintballing, flags, klingon boggle, online gaming, bowling, customisable cad games and cinema. He is a particular fan of Science Fiction, especially Star Trek, his favourite character being Spock. He is also especially keen on The Flash, Batman and Green Lantern, but hates Babylon 5, refusing to let Leonard watch it in the flat! Bizarrely, Jim Parsons admitted in a recent interview that he has not seen Star Trek!
Sheldon is currently in a relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler, a neuro-biologist. He first met Amy in ‘The Lunar Excitation’ when Howard and Raj set them up on a date through an online dating agency. Sheldon’s character has really had a chance to develop in this relationship. At first he was very reluctant to even admit that they were a couple, referring to Amy as His friend who was a girl, but not his girlfriend. Later, the relationship is put on a more formal footing, with Sheldon actually asking Amy to be his girlfriend, and writing a ‘relationship agreement’ for them both. Sheldon has always found physical contact to be hard, and Amy is no exception. She seemed to have similar views, but has recently started to make more advances toward Sheldon, and want more physical contact from him. He appears uninterested in developing this side of the relationship. His innocence and sometimes child-like nature are shown, and Amy is not above taking advantage of Sheldon in these situations. For example, in The Fish Guts Displacement, Sheldon rubs vapour rub on Amy’s chest, gives her a sponge bath, and finally spanks her! Amy obviously loves all this attention, but Sheldon is completely unaware of the effect that he has on her.
Fun Facts about Sheldon:
- Sheldon was born in 1981 (A Chart shown in ‘The Cruciferous Vegetable Amplification’ aired September 2010 states that he is 29). He is also a Taurus.
- Jim Parsons also originates from Texas.
- Sheldon has an allergic reaction to bees and cats.
- Sheldon keeps emergency money in his Green Lantern Figurine.
- Sheldon has Ursaphobia (a fear of bears), and therefore dislikes teddy bears.
- He is irritated by people who pronounce the ‘t’ in often
- Sheldon doesn’t hold a driver’s license. He claims that his feet are too evolved to allow him to drive correctly.
- Sheldon has three websites dedicated to his hatred of Wil Wheaton, his arch enemy. These being, wilwheatonstinks.com, .net and .org.
- Sheldon is very bad at keeping secrets.
- Sheldon hates arguing, which reminds him of his childhood and parents.
- Sheldon keeps a diary, Sheldon’s Log.
- Sheldon doesn’t drink alcohol; have caffeine or any other drug, after a promise to his mother.
- Sheldon thinks he would make a great elf, mostly due to his excellent archery skills gleaned from his father.
- He has a tendency to bite his dentist.
- Sheldon can recite Pi to a thousand decimal places.
- He calls his granny Meemaw, and granddad Pop-pop (deceased)
- His Meemaw calls him ‘Moonpie’ (awwhhhh that’s so cute!)
- He had an Uncle Carl who was killed by a badger whist cleaning the chimney.
- Sheldon plays the Piano (as does Jim Parsons) and the Theremin.
- Sheldon has Aphephobia, a fear of physical contact. He has attempted to overcome this in more recent episodes, mainly for Amy’s benefit.
- Birds seem to be the bane of Sheldon’s life. He was attacked by a hummingbird, chased by a chicken, had a magpie try to steal his retainer from his mouth and was verbally abused by a parrot, who called him ‘Fat ass’.
- He suffers from Stage fright and can’t speak in front of groups of 35 adults or more. This being the amount it would take to trample him, according to Sheldon.
- Sheldon has a bifurcated uvula (the uvula is that fleshy bit that hangs at the back of your throat). This could account for his sometimes hyper-nasal speech.
- It was Sheldon who broke the elevator, by throwing Leonard’s dangerous and explosive experiment down the shaft. He undoubtedly saved everyone’s lives by doing so! See The Staircase Implementation.
- Sheldon hates people messing with his food.
- He has his own spot on the couch – mess with it if you dare!