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This Might Have Been The Worst Mistake That Sheldon Made On The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons) from CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" may be a genius theoretical physicist, but his intellect doesn't make him immune from mistakes ... as much as he hates to admit it. Throughout the sitcom's 12 seasons, Sheldon often has a pompous and condescending attitude when interacting with his peers, despite them also having strong backgrounds in science. However, even the smartest individuals aren't perfect.

A prime example of this occurs in Season 7, Episode 6 ("The Romance Resonance"), when Sheldon is convinced he has discovered a method for synthesizing a new stable superheavy element. He tells Leonard (Johnny Galecki), "Prepare to be humbled and weep at the glory of my genius." Though Sheldon dances around the apartment chanting, "Sheldon and his brain, yeah!," he soon realizes that he accidentally used the measurement of square meters instead of square centimeters, which means he didn't discover anything. And that's just one example of many.

These foibles prove to be massive blows to Sheldon's confidence. But his embarrassment in front of Leonard doesn't compare to the humiliation he felt on another occasion.

Sheldon makes a mathematical error in front of idol Stephen Hawking

It's quickly made clear on "The Big Bang Theory" that Sheldon idolizes British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Therefore, in Season 5, Episode 21 ("The Hawking Excitation"), when Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) begins working with Hawking, Sheldon desperately wants him to pass along a research paper he wrote. Hawking, a fan-favorite "Big Bang Theory" guest star, enjoys the article and wants to meet Sheldon, yet the interaction doesn't go as planned. 

Hawking compliments Sheldon's brilliant mind, but informs him, "You made an arithmetic error on page two. It was quite a boner." Still, Sheldon refuses to believe that he's wrong. That is, until he double-checks his work. "Oh gosh golly, I made a boo boo and gave it to Stephen Hawking," he says before fainting. Ultimately, Sheldon blows the once-in-a-lifetime chance to prove his genius to the man who inspired his career, making this his biggest mistake.

Thankfully in real life, the actor behind Sheldon seems to have had a much better rapport with the physicist. On the heels of Hawking's death in March 2018, Jim Parsons said (via Online Media TV), "So much of our show is related, based on, adjacent to everything that Stephen Hawking did ... The fact that he knew of our show, was interested in being on it, was willing to come play with us group of monkeys for a couple of days was really moving."