- ―Sheldon's catchphrase
- “(knock, knock, knock,) [any person's name],
(knock, knock, knock,) [any person's name],
(knock, knock, knock,) [any person's name],”
- ―Sheldon's usual knock on anyone's door
- “I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested.”
- ―Sheldon's constant explanation for his self-perceived sanity
Sheldon Lee Cooper is a Caltech theoretical physicist who shares an apartment with his colleague and best friend, Leonard Hofstadter. Originally from East Texas, Sheldon started college at the age of 11, receiving his first Ph.D. at the age of 16. Sheldon was involved in numerous experiments as a wunderkind, such as his plan to provide free electricity for his hometown by building a nuclear reactor - a plan stopped by government pen pushers claiming it's illegal to store Yellowcake uranium in a garden shed! Unashamedly geeky, he has no qualms about speaking Klingon, wearing vintage t-shirts sporting superhero logos, or spouting various historical and cultural anecdotes (e.g., his account of the introduction of the fork into Thailand). While he might claim to be the perfect human specimen, Sheldon does have his faults. Sheldon is characterized by a strict adherence to routine and hygiene; an overly intellectual personality; a tenuous understanding of irony, sarcasm and humor; and a general lack of humility or empathy, the former of which is demonstrated in the fact that he has no problem voicing to his peers his admiration for his superior intellect. These qualities, along with his penchant for pranks, are his character's main source of humor. He has been described as the show's breakout character and has been voted as the Best Big Bang Theory Character.
Sheldon Cooper is an young adult from Texas who is highly arrogant and stubborn towards his roommate Leonard Hofstadter or to his family members. Sheldon can be extremely rude towards either to his girlfriend Amy Farrah Fowler, or to any of his friends. Sheldon can be annoyed by anyone whistling, one of his friends (mainly Penny) sitting in his spot, and how Wil Wheaton beats him at a competitive activity until Wil Wheaton changed his ways. At one point in Season 9, in The Empathy Optimization, when Sheldon is unfriendly towards his friends while he is sick, they decide to go to Vegas without him for the weekend, despite his apologies to them. In the end, though, they allow him to come with them.
Sheldon mentioned that he is disturbed by his parents fighting over each other when he was only a boy, this troubled past haunted Sheldon for a long time when Leonard and Penny got into a fight.
Although he is intelligent, Sheldon can be described by his friends as "crazy", but he reveals that his mother had him tested, which is actually true.
Sheldon has a number of enemies: Leslie Winkle often makes him look bad at his work and she tends to get into arguments with Sheldon, Wil Wheaton was once his mortal enemy, but he changed and the two became friends, Barry Kripke is an on and off enemy to Sheldon, but they are both bad at sport and they have slight disputes towards each other.
Sheldon is 6' 1" (1.86 m) tall with fair skin, short brown hair with matching oval shaped eyebrows and blue eyes.
His wardrobe consists of vintage T-shirts (which he always wears over a long-sleeve) adorned with references to superheroes, quantum physics, Sci-Fi television shows, and robots. Sheldon often expresses his mood through his choice of attire; especially his t-shirts. He's got a entirely large collection. He also owns a dark blue plaid suit which he wears for lecturing and other formal occasions.
He also appears to enjoy Reddit, as he has been seen with a Reddit alien shirt. He usually wears a long sleeve shirt underneath it along with plaid pants. Sheldon is tall and thin (setting him apart from his shorter colleagues), with Penny, and later Leonard, saying he looks like a giant praying mantis.
Like his friends, he is scientifically inclined, and is fond of comic books, costumes, video games, flags and science fiction, specifically Battlestar Galatica, Doctor Who, Stargate series, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Firefly, although he strongly dislikes Babylon 5 because he thinks it lacks scientific integrity and is derivative. He has claimed to be an honorary graduate of Starfleet Academy, and is an avid fan of science officer Spock. Other favorite characters of his are Batman, The Flash, and Frodo Baggins.
He likes playing Halo every Wednesday and paintball on the weekend with his friends. He can also play the piano and theremin, and seems to be a very good Tuvan throat singer, but would be better if not for a part in the Roommate Agreement denying him practice.
Despite his strange behavior, Sheldon had, at times, demonstrated a much softer side to himself. He does seem to be a quite heartwarming character; however, these moments are rather rare, and usually only reserved for those closest to him, such as his mother, Meemaw, Amy and his friends.
Although his friendship with Leonard is usually strained because of Sheldon's quirky behavior and weird habits, Sheldon has called Leonard "his little buddy" or something of the sort on multiple occasions. He also shows an obvious unease whenever his friendship with Leonard is threatened.
Sheldon has also showed friendly acts of caring towards Penny. In one instance, when Penny was low on money, Sheldon let her borrow a large amount of his savings, but while she worried about paying it back, he was entirely unconcerned as to when he got it back. Sheldon's willingness to lend money to others was later described by Leonard as "one of the few idiosyncrasies that doesn't make you want to, you know, kill him". Also, after Penny let him stay at her place when he locked himself out of his apartment, Sheldon sincerely thanked her for it.
When Penny fell and dislocated her shoulder, Sheldon spent the entire night taking care of her, including driving her to the hospital despite the fact that he does not know how to drive. He finished the night by helping her into bed and singing "Soft Kitty" to her after she asked him too. He also hugged Penny again when she said she would talk to Leonard about having him take Sheldon to Switzerland rather than her. This prompted him to sincerely thank her and hug her.
With the exception of his family, Penny, Wil Wheaton, Amy and Leonard are the only people Sheldon have hugged. With Amy, he specifically cuddled with her in the episode "The Isolation Permutation", after a discussion to console a weepy Amy who was craving human intimacy and physical contact. After turning down Amy's previous proposals of getting into bed together and French-kissing, Sheldon agreed with her final offer to cuddle, though he got upset over it later, by yelling at Leonard and Howard to keep Penny and Bernadette in line and have them apologize to Amy since consoling Amy had caused him to miss the time he had designated to solve Spacetime Geometry in Higher Spin Gravity and building his Lego Death Star. This particular event of him cuddling with Amy is a huge development of his personality since he is not shown to have much empathy or sympathy for others.
His caring attitude towards Amy is also exemplified when he buys her a diamond tiara as a form of apology after having a fight regarding the importance of Amy's accomplishment when her research made the cover of a noteworthy science magazine. In another instance, Sheldon acted disrespectfully in Amy's laboratory when he was taking his required vacation time. The next day, however, he returns and after a few attempts, meekly apologizes to Amy, showing a vulnerable side of him that isn't usually seen considering his egotistical attitude. Perhaps the greatest leap forward in Sheldon's willingness to show his softer, more emotional side to Amy is when he voluntarily, without any prior prompt from Amy, held Amy's hand while Howard's Soyuz capsule was being launched into space. Amy was shocked at this, since Sheldon had acted confused and oblivious when she had tried holding his hand in The Alien Parasite Hypothesis. In season 6, he objects to Amy making him hold hands as he considers it unhygienic.
Sheldon also appears to have problems understanding the law at times:
- In "The Peanut Reaction", Sheldon hacks the service computer of an electronic store while he is shopping for Leonard’s birthday gift with Penny.
- In "The Einstein Approximation", Sheldon throws a whiteboard out his window into traffic without any regard, in addition to breaking into buildings. He has also been seen going into various places, such as a kid's play-area, and even began working at the Cheesecake Factory without being granted permission.
- When Sheldon Cooper tried to understand Howard’s card trick in the episode "The Prestidigitation Approximation", he hacked into the Cray Supercomputer of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to analyze Howard’s shuffling patterns. Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security notifies his mother when he acts contrary to federal law. As he states later, "Apparently, you can't hack into a top-secret government supercomputer and then try to buy uranium without the Department of Homeland Security tattling to your mother." This implies that Homeland Security is familiar with him, as instead of arresting and questioning him, they simply inform his mother and let her deal with him.
He has expertise with picking locks and disarming alarm systems.
His spot on the couch
The most notable feature of Sheldon's obsessive-compulsive disorder is his refusal to sit anywhere other than his designated spot on the far left cushion of the couch in his apartment, which he considers his "single point of consistency in an ever-changing world" and "the singular location in space around which revolves my entire universe", exceeding his love for his mother. He describes his spot on the couch as being his point 0, 0, 0, 0 if his life were a Cartesian coordinate plan. Sheldon regularly reproaches Penny and other people for sitting in his spot. Even disruptions to this location are enough to disturb him. Although he did allow Penny to sit in his spot in the first episode, as well as Howard, for a short time in "The Apology Insufficiency", only 94 seconds later, he reclaims his spot. As well as his designated spot in the apartment, if Sheldon is ever in a different area where he is going to sit down, such as Penny's apartment, he has to choose the best sitting location based on such things as optimal television viewing, lighting, airflow, and cushion density. In "The Werewolf Transformation", when his barber was ill and chaos ruled his life, he didn't object to Penny sitting in his spot. In "The Mommy Observation" Leonard reveals that Sheldon has a very sensitive butt and can tell when someone was sitting in his spot.
Sheldon is very different from the rest of his family. His mother Mary Cooper is a devout Christian and a loving parent, and is one of the few people who refer to him as "Shelly". Leonard Hofstadter called her Sheldon's "Kryptonite" and will often call her when Sheldon is having serious issues. In "The Mommy Observation", Sheldon surprises her mother with a visit and caught her have sexual relations with her boyfriend. First Sheldon condemns her for her coitus despite her Christian beliefs and she sends him to his room. Howard, who was in Houston lecturing at NASA, tells him how he drove away his mother's boyfriend and how she has been lonely ever since. Sheldon decides to not stand in his mother's way of happiness though he still chooses to condemn her internally. Also he tries to initiate a talk with her about the birds and the bees.
Sheldon also has a fraternal twin sister, Missy Cooper, a hostess at Fuddruckers. Tall and attractive, she caught the attention of Leonard, as well as of Raj and Howard. Sheldon believes that within Missy's eggs lays the potential for another "superior mutation" like himself, and on this grounds considered his friends unsuitable to be with his sister. Sheldon became offended when he found that Missy tells others he is a rocket scientist; he apparently thinks the title is inaccurate and below him, telling her she might as well say he is a toll collector at the Golden Gate Bridge.
Along with Missy, Sheldon also has an older brother, named George Cooper Jr. who often beat him up, along with Missy. Mary described the two of them as being "dumb as soup." George Jr. has never been shown on the show.
Sheldon's father, George, an almost-redneck Texan Homer Simpson, died shortly before the series began, and Missy visited Sheldon to bring paperwork regarding their father's estate. Sheldon recalls that his father would force him to watch football ever since he was four despite his lack of interest for the sport. He also taught him archery which gives Sheldon an odd smell of K-mart bourbon whenever he plays it, including the Wii version.
Sheldon is also very close to his maternal grandmother, whom he calls "Meemaw," who in turn calls him "Moon Pie". Her name is not yet revealed.
Sheldon also cherishes the memory of his Pop-Pop, Meemaw's husband, who was his only relative that urged him to follow his dream into science. His grandfather passed away before Christmas when Sheldon was five, which greatly traumatized him. When his Christmas wish to Santa to bring back Pop-Pop didn't come true, it soured him so much he hated the holiday altogether.
Sheldon has a maternal uncle, Edward, who is called "Stumpy" as the result of a time when he cleaned a wood chipper by hand. Sheldon had another uncle, called Carl Cooper, who was killed by a badger while cleaning a chimney. And another uncle that may have done things to children that were legal in Oklahoma per "The Clean Room Infiltration".
Sheldon has an uncle, Roger and a now-deceased aunt Ruth. In "The Engagement Reaction", Sheldon mentions Ruth died in a hospital when she went there to visit Roger, she caught something and bit the dust a week later and the two of them now share a coffee can on Sheldon's mother’s mantel.
Role in the series
In The Big Bran Hypothesis, Sheldon breaks in Penny's apartment and cleans it all up, freaking Penny out who blames Leonard for cleaning her apartment. Sheldon gives an forced-apology to Penny and admits that he cleaned the apartment.
In The Luminous Fish Effect, Sheldon gets dismissed from his job when he insults his new boss Eric Gablehauser. He tries to do other experiments and home e.g. making fish luminous for night-lights, and weave cloth mats. Eventually, Sheldon's mother Mary Cooper makes him apologize to Gablehauser. Sheldon does so and gets his job back right after Mary Cooper flirts with Gablehauser.
In The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization, Sheldon threw out the invitation to both Leonard and Sheldon to present their research paper at a conference on Paradoxical Moment-of-Inertia Changes Due to Putative Super-Solids. Leonard finds the invitation and tries to persuade Sheldon to present the paper with him, but Sheldon refuses, stating that he does not want to read his paper to "people with lesser minds", despite Sheldon's attempts to forbid Leonard from presenting the paper and to "blow up his head with his mind", Leonard goes to the conference. Sheldon, in disguise attends the conference anyway, and when Leonard opens up for Q&A, Sheldon asks the mocking question "What the hell was that?", before revealing himself to Leonard, berating him for missing over the part of when he see "these children on a merry-go-round, having him thinking about the moment of inertia, in gases like helium, at temperatures approaching absolute zero". Sheldon and Leonard argue over in the conference, ending with a fight.
After the conference, Sheldon walks back to his apartment, lucky that Leonard didn't run him over, and apologizes to Leonard for "blowing up his head" not for humiliating Leonard in the conference. Then, Howard and Raj come over and present them the YouTube video showing their fight uploaded by Howard himself who also took a picture of Penny sleeping on his shoulder.
In The Jerusalem Duality, Sheldon becomes angered when Dennis Kim is proved to be more smarter and greater than he is. This causes Sheldon to study something else, he attempts to collaborate with Leonard, Howard and Raj, one-by-one, but they all told him to "Go away". Sheldon makes another attempt of winning the Nobel peace prize by attempting to solve the Middle East conflicts: he proposes the creation of an exact replica of Jerusalem in the Mexican desert, resulting in a giant failure. He openly mocks Dennis Kim at his welcome party with The Matrix, and when Dennis gets hooked up with a attractive girl called Emma, Sheldon makes a speech that his research will be resumed and uninterrupted, rendering him back to normal. Despite the guys feel sorry for Dennis, Sheldon mocks Dennis in victory.
In The Bat-Jar Conjecture, the annual Physics Bowl is coming up and Sheldon, Leonard, Howard and Raj form a team. During the practice of the game, Sheldon becomes a pain in the neck for them, prompting them to eject him off the team with Leonard giving him a Batman Cookie Jar to soften the blow of his dismissal from the team. Devastated, Sheldon forms his own team to compete against Leonard, his gathers the third-floor janitor, a lunch lady and her son to be on his team. When the day arrives, Sheldon competes against Leonard, Howard, Raj and Leslie Winkle. When it comes to the final question, Leonard panics and Gablehauser asks AA for their official answer, the third-floor janitor states the correct answer, revealing that he was a former Soviet Physicist, Sheldon refuses to give the official answer, and is denied protests to change the question. Gablehauser informs Sheldon that the answer his teammate gave was correct. Leonard offers Sheldon a chance at redemption, asking if he'd rather lose by himself or win as part of a team. But Sheldon simply replies that he doesn't understand the question, before PMS is declared the winners. Leonard has the Physics Bowl trophy to sit in his spot, and Penny enters challenging them with questions about Pop Culture, none of the two knew the answer of every question, unless the incorrect answer is from Star Trek.
In "The Excelsior Acquisition, Sheldon has the go to court with Penny, causing him to miss Stan Lee's autography at the Comic Book Store. Sheldon runs over the rehearsal of how Penny would defend him, before he leaves to go to court. In the courthouse, Sheldon tries to defend himself, but fails and is found guilty by Judge Kirby. Sheldon refuses to pay the cashier and even insults the judge to his face; Kirby gives Sheldon a chance to apologize, but Sheldon refuses, promptly landing himself in jail, meaning that he was stay there until he apologizes. Sheldon finally apologies to the judge after asking the security guard, paid the cashier his fine and has an ineffectively criminal record. He blames Penny for making him missing his chance to see Stan Lee, and a regretful Penny takes Sheldon to meet Stan Lee. Stan Lee isn't interested with them and sarcastically invites Sheldon to watch the Lakers. Due to his sarcasm-blindness, Sheldon accepts, causing him to get a signed restraining order from Stan Lee, but Sheldon is happy about it and hangs it up, next to his earlier received restraining order from Leonard Nimoy.
He meets Amy in the final episode and the two are seen grabbing a drink together.
Sheldon and Amy officially become boyfriend and girlfriend.
In The Rothman Disintegration, Sheldon and Barry Kripke squabble over Professor Rothman's vacant office, who has forcefully retired. Sheldon wins the office, but soon faces problems in his office: Rothman is still there naked, the mocking bird sings off key with the wind chimes, the geology department above his office is too loud, and the thermostat for the air conditioner is in another room where its occupant is experiencing hot flashes. Sheldon gets his head trapped in the hole in the wall, where Leonard takes a photo with his phone.
In The Werewolf Transformation, Sheldon's barber Mr. D'Onofrio is in a coma, leaving him hospitalized. Sheldon refuses to let his nephew Angelo, and Penny to cut his hair for him. Sheldon tries to get Mr. D'Onofrio to cut his hair, but Sheldon leaves immediately after a nurse called security on him. A week went by, Sheldon now wears Tuesday pajamas, and starts playing bongos at 3am. He plays the bongos all the way to Amy's Apartment, where Amy, Leonard and Penny convince him of all the things they done to him that he is impressed with, Sheldon eventually agrees to let Penny to trim his hair, Penny does so, and accidentally shaves the back of his hair off, leaving Sheldon unaware of it.
Sheldon eventually gives up on his research on String Theory and starts to pursue a different field, although the university forces him to stay with string theory. This causes Sheldon to leave Pasadena on a train as a hobo.
Sheldon immediately gets robbed on a train and calls Leonard instead of his girlfriend Amy to rescue him.
Sheldon has an appointment at the human resources where they promote him, to be a teacher, then he can choose a different field of study. His teaching skills are inferior when Howard takes the class, and starts behaving like a ignorant child to make Sheldon look bad.
Sheldon gets more serious in his relationship with Amy, even admitting that he loves her ("The Prom Equivalency"), and secretly revealing a family engagement ring ("The Commitment Determination"). Sheldon also creates a new scientific theory with Leonard and begins his studies on Dark Matter.
Sheldon pushes Amy to make up her mind about their relationship, but goes too far and insults her to her face, causing her to break up with him and causing everyone except Howard and Stuart to leave the room ("The Matrimonial Momentum").
Sheldon and Amy reconcile in "The Earworm Reverberation" and in the next episode "The Opening Night Excitation, Sheldon has sex with her as his birthday present to her.
Sheldon, Leonard and Howard meet with Air Force Colonel Williams, who wants to buy their quantum gyroscope. When Amy's apartment is flooded in "The Cohabitation Experimentation", Leonard and Penny suggest that she and Sheldon try living together. The two move into Apartment 4B, just across the hall. They have some conflicts initially, but they resolve their issues in the next episode "The Hot Tub Contamination".
In the seventh episode "The Veracity Elasticity", they move into Apartment 4B permanently, allowing Penny and Leonard to have Apartment 4A. On a couple occasions, Sheldon and Amy actually work together.
In the season finale, "The Long Distance Dissonance", Amy goes to Princeton for a 3-month research fellowship, even though she didn't want to because it would mean leaving Sheldon all alone. Meanwhile, Sheldon's biggest fan and colleague, Dr. Ramona Nowitizki, returns. It ultimately becomes apparent that she still has a crush on him, even though he has since found a new love interest, who is currently out of town. After Penny tells him that the more he turns her down, the more attracted she becomes to him. Realizing Penny is right after having an unwilling kiss with Ramona, Sheldon knows the only way he can truly get her to back off is to marry Amy.
- [on Raj's phobia of bugs] You're afraid of insects and women. Ladybugs must render you catatonic.
- [Whilst comforting Howard over his mother's death] When I lost my own father, I didn't have any friends to help me through it. You do.
- [repeated line, whenever someone accuses him of being crazy] I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested!
- [knocks 3x] Penny! [knocks 3x] Penny! [knocks 3x] Penny!
- [repeated more often, when Sheldon makes a sarcastic joke] Bazinga!
- It is revealed that Sheldon has 212 friends on Facebook.
- He does not like whistling.
- He has perfected "glow in the dark fish".
- He fears dogs and birds.
- He likely has parts of Obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger's Syndrome.
- Jim Parsons has won two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Sheldon.
- Sheldon along with his roommate Leonard is named after the director and producer, Sheldon Leonard.
- Sheldon has two restraining orders from Stan Lee and Leonard Nimoy.