"The Jerusalem Duality" is the twelfth episode of the first season of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. This episode first aired on Monday, April 14, 2008.
In this episode, Dennis Kim, a child prodigy, is looking around the university and seems to have outstripped Sheldon in every way. Sheldon decides to give up his own work and focus on other tasks which annoys the guys so much that they attempt to distract Dennis in order to return Sheldon to his normal self.
At work, Sheldon and Leonard discuss problems of teleportation. Sheldon is adamantly against being disintegrated, even if exactly recreated. He simply can't allow the original Sheldon to be destroyed. Dr. Eric Gablehauser introduces Dennis Kim, a new 15 year old prodigy and wants the boys to make him feel welcome. Kim is dismissive of Sheldon's work in string theory, calling it a dead end. Kim starts explaining to Sheldon about false vacuum vacuums , but gets distracted by chocolate milk in the vending machine. Sheldon muses "I sense a disturbance in the force." ala Star Wars.
As Sheldon and Leonard show Dennis around, we see Sheldon's office for the first time. On seeing Sheldon's whiteboards, Dennis comments negatively on Sheldon's work in quantum loop corrections. He questions if Sheldon has considered a field theory approach. Sheldon takes exception, then orders Leonard to get Dennis out of his office. On their way out, Dennis sees Sheldon's Stevenson Award. Sheldon takes great pride in announcing that he is the youngest person to win the award at "fourteen and a half". "You WERE the youngest winner", Dennis corrects him, strutting out of the office.
Back at the apartment, Sheldon is fuming about Dennis Kim's presence, upset that at fifteen years old, Dennis is correcting Sheldon's work. Sheldon muses that he has gone from "being Stevenson Mozart, to being...that other guy". (Sheldon is referring to musician Stevenson Antonio Salieri, a contemporary of Mozart's painted as a desperate and jealous rival of Mozart's musical brilliance in the Play (theatre) play, musical, and film titled "Amadeus".) When Howard chimes in with Salieri's name, Sheldon is despondent, noting "Oh God, now even you're smarter than me". Leonard encourages Sheldon to eat something, then he'll feel better. Sheldon doubts this because "In Texas when a cow goes dry, they don't keep feeding it, they just take her out back and shooting shoot her between the eyes". Sheldon always knew that some day someone smarter would come along; but he always assumed that he would have been dead for hundreds of years and that the new smarter someone would have an asterisk beside their name because they were a cyborg Sheldon determines that the rational thing is to give up fruitless efforts in his own field and point his efforts in a new direction; dedicating himself to science scientific research and waiting to die. Penny questions whether they have to WAIT for him to die, or if they get to shoot him between the eyes.
Later that night, Sheldon has decided that with his own line of research blown up by Dennis, he will instead collaborate with Leonard. He asks Leonard to clarify exactly what he does; he's listened to Leonard talk about his work, but he never really paid attention. Leonard is currently designing an experiment to study the soft component of cosmic radiation at sea level . Sheldon looks at Leonard's design and asks about a laser array in the schematic, questioning why he's using helium lasers instead of argon lasers. Leonard tells him that he's pretty sure it would blow up. Sheldon knocks Leonard's scientific method: "Pretty sure is not very scientific. It this how you usually work? With hunches and guesses and stuff"? Leonard finally has enough, telling Sheldon to "GO AWAY!".
The next day, Sheldon attempts to collaborate with Howard in engineering. Sheldon has made it clear over time that he regards Howard in particular and engineering in general to be far far beneath his own level of science. Sheldon has never visited Howard's work space in the 3 years he'd worked there, so when he shows up, Howard is immediately suspicious of Sheldon's presence. Howard shows Sheldon that he's working on a payload support structure that is going up on the next space shuttle . Sheldon looks it over and declares, "so it's a shelf". He further critiques the design, from the choice of metal to the structural details. Howard reminds Sheldon that he has a diploma in his office that says he has a Masters in Engineering. Sheldon rebuts, picking up a piece of paper on Howard's desk; "You also have a note from your mother that says 'I love you, bubbulah'. But neither of those is a cogent argument for titanium over nanotubes". Howard mimics Leonard's response to Sheldon's meddling: "GO AWAY!" Sheldon wants to know if Leonard told him to say that. Howard retorts that he came up with it on his own. Sheldon walks away, pondering how this cannot be coincidence, and wondering what causal link he's missing.
We don't see the interaction between Sheldon and Raj, but predictably, it ends the same way, and we see Raj ejecting Sheldon out of his office with the predicted "GO AWAY!" Sheldon leaves, muttering to himself "Curiouser, and curiouser".
Later, back at the apartment Howard and Raj show up to discuss the situation with Leonard. Raj tells Leonard that Sheldon watched him work for 10 minutes then started designing a piece of software that could replace him. Leonard isn't sure what CAN be done, as Sheldon will never be able to cope with the fact that a 15 year old kid is smarter than him. Raj wonders what would happen if "something happened" to Dennis so he would no longer be a threat to Sheldon. Howard suggests they use biology to distract Kim from academics.
Sheldon gets home, excitedly babbling about how, if they all teamed up, they could lick cold fusion in a decade, twelve years tops. They all glare at Sheldon, who seems to be learning, as he asks.. "go away?". They all nod and Sheldon is at the brink of an epiphany: "Could it be ME?"
Leonard, Howard, and Raj seek Penny's help. They want to try to "distract" Kim by hooking him up with a girl, so Howard asks her where to get a hot Asian 15 year old girl with a thing for smart guys. Leonard points out that Howard's question was racist, and that ANY hot 15 year old girl will do. Penny slams the door on them.
Sheldon applies himself to winning the Nobel Peace Prize for solving the Middle East crisis by creating a second wailing wall (also called the "Western Wall") in the Mexican desert. Dr. Gablehauser and Dennis Kim stop by. Sheldon explains his concept to them; convinced that, like the baseball movie "build it and they will come", adding that he plans to lure the Jewish people by "making it nice...we'll put out a spread". His jealousy and hatred for Dennis is still apparent as he asks Kim "You can see "The Matrix, can't you?" Gablehauser takes Dennis down the hall...explaining that Sheldon "is nuts". As they leave, Sheldon can be heard singing the Jewish folksong, "Hava Nagila".
"Bring Your Daughter to Work Day", a device obviously invented by the boys as a means to populate the event with prospective young women to distract Dennis. As the boys plot how to get a girl interested in Dennis, Dr. Gablehauser gives his welcome speech and introduces Dennis. When asked if he'd like to give a few words about his upcoming research, Kim declines, instead leaving the party in his honor to go to the mall with Emma, one of the beautiful daughters in attendance, leaving the boys speechless that he was able to land such a girl on his own. Sheldon steps in to cover the awkward silence left by Dennis' departure. He takes advantage of the situation to announce to the crowd that his own work will continue and that social relationships will continue to baffle and repulse him.
Later at the park, the boys have been playing with model rockets. Howard is annoyed that even with his work orbit orbiting Earth on a space shuttle, he received a summons ticket for launching his rocket in the park. Leonard points out that it was probably due to Howard's insistence to the police woman that she frisk him. The boys come across Dennis Kim, disheveled, making out with a girl and drinking what appears to be alcohol from a bottle in a paper bag. He gives the impression of being a ruined person. Raj feels bad for what they did to him. Sheldon has no such sympathies, noting: "Screw him, he was weak."
- Title Reference: Sheldon attempts to build an exact replica of Jerusalem in the middle of the Mexican desert after his work in theoretical physics seems useless (courtesy of Dennis Kim). Sheldon wants to bring peace to the Middle East using this concept.
- This is the first episode to not only feature a scene shot outside, but the Caltech cafeteria and Sheldon's office make their debut on-screen appearance.
- Eric Gablehauser: "And he’s (Dennis Kim) only fifteen years old." Sheldon: "Not bad, I myself started graduate school at fourteen." Dennis: "Well, I lost a year while my family was tunneling out of North Korea." Leonard: "Advantage Kim." Leonard's response does not make sense, as Dennis Kim would have been 14 like Sheldon if he hadn't lost a year. Moreover, since Kim did lose a year, the advantage goes to Sheldon.
- Dr. Gablehauser refers to Dennis Kim as a doctoral candidate to indicate that he is a potential Ph.D. student of the Caltech Physics Department; however, the term aforementioned applies only to admitted doctoral students who have completed all of the formal coursework and comprehensive examinations required of the degree, but have yet to complete the doctoral dissertation. Hence, Dennis is merely a prospective doctoral student, as opposed to a doctoral candidate.
- When Dennis Kim enters Sheldon's office, his whiteboard features a massless two-loop self-energy diagram and the evaluation of the associated multiloop Feynman integral. Multiloop Feynman integrals appear when quantum-field amplitudes are constructed within perturbation theory. They are integrals over so-called loop momenta. Feynman integrals are usually complicated objects even in a one-loop approximation, so that the number of loops equal to two is already considered big. Feynman invented their graph-theoretic interpretation. (Refer to Graph Theory and Feynman Integrals by Noboru Nakanishi.)
- After being thrown out from Raj's office, Sheldon says this famous quote "Curiouser and curiouser" from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Sheldon says it again in The Isolation Permutation.
- This is the first time when Howard made an inappropriate question by asking Penny if she can help them find a hot 15 year old girl into smart guys, not realizing what that sounds like.
- The guys strangely never bothered to consider what might happen if Dr. Gablehauser found out that they ruined his brightest recruit ever.
- Sheldon's comment about Dennis seeing "The Matrix" supposes that Dennis Kim is able to detect the "real" reality from which the movie series takes its name; that mankind is actually enslaved by machine machines who live off of human body heat and electrochemical energy. Most people are in a sort of state of hypnosis, living an artificial reality imposed on them.
- Dennis Kim reveals that Sheldon's string theory research is at a dead end, foreshadowing the later events in "The Relationship Diremption", where Sheldon sees that his twenty-year long time string theory research is going nowhere.