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412 - A Box of Treasure and the Meemaw of Science

Aired Thursday, April 1, 2021
A Box of Treasure and the Meemaw of Science

Meemaw joins Sheldon and Dr. Linkletter on a science experiment. Georgie gets a new side hustle after finding a box of Sheldon's old tests. Meanwhile, Mary wonders why Pastor Jeff and Brenda didn't invite her when they start walking around the neighborhood.

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Episode Notes

  • Title Reference: "A Box of Treasure" refers to Georgie finding Sheldon's old tests, and "the Meemaw of Science" refers to Meemaw's dream about winning a Nobel Prize for her work on Dr. Linkletter and Sheldon's experiment.
  • Opening Credits Sequence: Sheldon is dressed as Albert Einstein as a cow approaches the family.

Quotes

Dr. John Sturgis: [on the phone] So tell me about this experiment.
Meemaw: Well, I don't know if you know this, but solar neutrinos are like little messengers from the center of the Sun.
Dr. John Sturgis: I did know that, but it's delightful to hear you say it.
Meemaw: Well, enjoy, 'cause that's about all I remember. [John laughs] So, what's new by you?
Dr. John Sturgis: Well, let's see... Uh, oh, yesterday I had my first breakfast burrito.
Meemaw: Mm. Good for you. How was it?
Dr. John Sturgis: Confusing. I ordinarily have burritos for lunch or dinner.
Meemaw: [laughs] I don't know how to respond to that.
Dr. John Sturgis: You're working on an experiment and I'm eating dinner for breakfast. It's a crazy world.

Dr. John Sturgis: [answers phone] John Sturgis.
Meemaw: Hey, John.
Dr. John Sturgis: Connie. So nice to hear from you.
Meemaw: You'll never guess what I'm doing.
Dr. John Sturgis: Tell me.
Meemaw: I am working on a solar neutrino detector.
Dr. John Sturgis: Wow. I was gonna guess making soft-boiled eggs. [both chuckle]
Meemaw: Yeah, Sheldon and Linkletter asked me to help them out.
Dr. John Sturgis: Oh. Linkletter's involved.
Meemaw: Oh, well, he's not so bad.
Dr. John Sturgis: [laughs] You and he aren't...?
Meemaw: Oh, no, no, no. I'm still seeing Dale.
Dr. John Sturgis: Okay, good. I can handle you with a guy who sells volleyballs, but you with another scientist, that'd be like a dagger in the heart.
Meemaw: [chuckles] No daggers here.

Dr. Linkletter: Perhaps we could create some sort of a cocoon to suspend it.
Sheldon: Out of wire?
Dr. Linkletter: Or nylon. But I wouldn't know how to weave it around a sphere.
Meemaw: I'm not a genius, but it sounds to me like what y'all are talking about is, uh, crochet.
Dr. Linkletter: I suppose we are.
Meemaw: Because with crochet, you can make all kinds of shapes.
Dr. Linkletter: Intriguing.
Meemaw: Hell, I even crocheted a cover for Jolene.
Dr. Linkletter: I'm sorry?
Meemaw: That's my bowling ball.
Sheldon: She likes to name inanimate objects... it's odd.
Dr. Linkletter: Or whimsically charming.

Dr. Linkletter: So, the problem that I'm running into is I can't get the inner sphere to remain suspended in the buffer liquid.
Sheldon: Have you tried wrapping the sphere in copper wire?
Dr. Linkletter: I did, but it just slips out.
Sheldon: Perhaps we could suspend it in some sort of sleeve.
Dr. Linkletter: That would prevent light from getting through.
Sheldon: Hmm. [strokes chin] I wonder if my thinking would be more effective if I had a beard to stroke. It's one of the few aspects of puberty I'm looking forward to.

Pastor Jeff: Get this. I drove past the Methodist church and you know what the sign out front said?
Mary: What?
Pastor Jeff: "Friendship, pirate ship, try the best ship... worship."
Mary: Clever.
Pastor Jeff: That was our sign last year! I wrote that!
Mary: Isn't the most important thing that it might get more people to go to church?
Pastor Jeff: But whoever did it has the sin of stealing on their soul now, so at least there's that.
Mary: There you go.

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Featured Music

  • You're the Best
    Joe 'Bean' Esposito

    You're the Best During Meemaw's dream about winning a Nobel prize for her work on the experiment.

Episode Trivia

  • What is the name of Meemaw's bowling ball?
    • Fancy
    • Emmylou
    • Evangeline
    • Jolene
  • What Mexican food did Dr. Sturgis recently have for breakfast?
    • Tamales
    • Quesadillas
    • Burrito
    • Huevos Rancheros

Episode Recap

Adult Sheldon explains his role as Linkletter’s lab assistant was progressing nicely. He’s mastered operating the manual particle collector, a.k.a the broom. He doesn’t always recognize sarcasm but he knows how to use it. When Dr. Linkletter goes to Sheldon to say he’s hit a problem with the solar neutrino detector and asks him to come have a look, Sheldon asks if he’s saying he would like him to take part in his experiment. Yes. Because his previous observations proved correct? Yes. And had he listened to Sheldon, his lab wouldn’t have caught fire? Yes. Sheldon wants to be clear that at the tender age of 11 he’ll be officially participating in an academic study. Linkletter asks if he will do it or not? Sheldon says absolutely and hands the broom back to Dr. Linkletter.

A wet-haired Georgie walks into the kitchen as his dad reads a newspaper. Georgie asks if they have another hair dryer as his broke. George says to just dry his hair with a towel, but Georgie doesn’t fancy his hair looking like his dad’s. George tells him to look in the garage. As Georgie looks around in the garage, he stumbles across a box of Sheldon’s old tests. Back inside, Mary looks out the window and sees Brenda Sparks walking with Pastor Jeff. When Missy comes in and asks Mary what she’s looking at, Mary explains. Missy mentions that she saw them out walking the other day. When Missy wonders why Mary doesn’t go with him, Mary admits she wasn’t invited.

In his lab, Dr. Linkletter explains his problem to Sheldon. He can’t get the inner sphere to remain suspended in the buffer solution. Sheldon wonders if he’s tried suspending it in copper wire? Linkletter says he did but it just slips out. What about suspending in some sort of sieve? Linkletter points out that would prevent light getting through. A puzzled Sheldon strokes his chin and wonders whether his thinking would be more effective if he had a beard to stroke. It’s one of the few aspects of puberty he’s looking forward to.

In the boys’ room at the high school, Georgie offers Tam a way of not needing to study for tonight’s chemistry test. Georgie holds up one of Sheldon’s marked papers, explaining that the teachers have been giving out the same tests all year. Tam tries to thank Georgie, but Georgie says he’s not just giving it away. After Georgie says it’ll be $5, Tam says it’s worth it as his mom will kill him if he gets another B.

At the church, Pastor Jeff goes to Mary’s desk to complain about a sign he saw over at the methodist church. "Friendship, pirate ship, try the best ship... worship." When Mary says that’s clever, Pastor Jeff says he wrote that last year. Mary thinks getting people to church is the important thing, but Pastor Jeff is just happy to know whoever copied his line has the sin of stealing on their soul now. As Pastor Jeff goes to leave, Mary mentions she saw him and Brenda Sparks walking this morning. After Jeff says it’s a good way to start the day, Mary says she’d go with George but gym teachers aren’t much for walking. Missing the hint, Pastor Jeff tells her to keep asking and maybe he’ll come around.

As Sheldon and Dr. Linkletter observe the prototype in the lab, Sheldon says he never thought a sphere suspended in mineral oil could be so exciting. When Meemaw enters, she wonders what’s going on there. Sheldon explains it’s a prototype of a solar neutrino detector and they need to keep the sphere suspended precisely in the scintillator. Dr. Linkletter says speaking of scintillating… But Meemaw shoots him right down. Sheldon is disappointed when the sphere sinks to the bottom of the solution. When Meemaw asks if they’re ready to go, Sheldon says not yet as they’re so close to cracking this. Dr. Linkletter asks for ten more minutes. They’re both excited when Meemaw agrees.

Adult Sheldon remarks he wasn’t even at the high school any more and he was still lifting its grade point average. In the boys’ room, a student asks Georgie if he has a biology test. Georgie says it depends, does he have money? When the boy flashes the cash, Georgie confirms he’s got a biology test.

Back in the lab, Dr. Linkletter proposes creating some sort of cocoon to suspend the sphere. Sheldon wonders if they’d make it out of wire. Nylon, Linkletter suggests, but admits he wouldn’t know how to weave it around a sphere. Meemaw says she’s not a genius but it sounds like they’re talking about crochet. She explains you can make all kinds of shapes with crochet. She even crocheted a cover for Jolene - her bowling ball. When Dr. Linkletter asks Meemaw if she would like to join their experiment, Meemaw is surprised but says sure, why not. Dr. Linkletter and Sheldon are excited to get back to work, but first Meemaw needs to use the john.

Back home, Mary says grace as she, George and Missy sit around the kitchen table. After Mary mentions to George that she was thinking after dinner they could go out for a walk, George wonders why. Mary explains she saw Pastor Jeff and Brenda walking and thought it looked like fun. So go with them, George says. Missy explains they didn’t invite Mary and she was upset about it. Missy thinks Brenda and Jeff are talking about Billy, who’s been getting in trouble at school. After Mary says she might see how Brenda’s doing later, George is relieved he doesn’t have to go for a walk.

Back in the lab, after Meemaw wonders what material she will be using, Dr. Linkletter says he was going to use wire but that might be difficult to crochet with. Meemaw scoffs and claims she could crochet barbed wire with a chopstick if she had to. Dr. Linkletter praises her bravado, although Sheldon questions whether it should be the female bravada. When Meemaw wonders why they’re trying to find solar neutrinos, Sheldon explains other experiments have only managed to see about half of the neutrinos coming from the sun and Dr. Linkletter says they’d like to figure out why. This could tell them what kind of nuclear reactions are going on in the sun. Sheldon explains neutrinos are made deep in the core of the sun. They have to travel 100 times the radius of the Earth just to get out. Meemaw says kind of like you can drive all day and still be in Texas. Exactly, says Linkletter, and then they have to travel another 93 million years to get here. Sheldon says neutrinos are basically direct messengers from the center of the Sun. That’s why they’re building the prototype, Linkletter says. Meemaw is amazed she gets to be part of it, even after she finds out there’s no money in it.

Later that night, Meemaw calls Brenda on the phone. Mary says she was just checking in to see how Brenda was doing. Brenda sharply asks “How am I doing about what?”. After Mary explains she heard Billy was having trouble at school, Brenda says he’ll be fine, so thanks for calling. Mary says if there’s anything she can do or if she wants to talk… Brenda says “Good to know” and asks if there’s anything else. Mary says no, so Brenda ends the call with a brief “Okay. Bye.”

That night, Meemaw gets to work crocheting. Adult Sheldon explains she was in the zone. She was focused. She was determined. She was also 68 and had eaten a lot of pizza. As Meemaw dozes off, she dreams about winning a Nobel Prize for her work.

Back home, Georgie goes to his father after realizing his supply of tests is limited. Georgie asks his father if he ever uses the copier at work, claiming he needs to use it for school work. George says they keep it locked as it’s not for students. When Georgie asks if he has a key, George says he’s not giving him the key. Why not? George says he knows him and therefore doesn’t trust him. When Georgie repeats that it’s for school work, George offers to do the copying himself if George brings it by the office tomorrow. Georgie gives up and walks into the kitchen, ducks behind the counter and reaches for the bowl of keys. George shouts that the key isn’t on his key chain. Dang it, says Georgie.

Adult Sheldon explains that since the key was in his father’s desk drawer, Georgie did something he’d never done before: he got to school early. Georgie finds the key in his dad’s drawer. Later, as Georgie stands by the copier, he remarks it’s like printing money. When Georgie hears a key in the door and sees the latch move, he ducks behind a table. Mr. Givens walks in, pops a few breath mints and sniffs his underarms to make sure he’s okay. A moment later, he lets Ms. Hutchins in and tells her she looks beautiful. She tells him to shut up and kiss her.

That morning, Meemaw phones Dr. Sturgis to tell him about her experiment. John is surprised, especially when she mentions she’s working with Dr. Linkletter. John is relieved to hear she’s still with Dale. He can handle her with a guy who sells volleyballs, but her being with another scientist would be like a dagger in his heart. After John asks about the experiment, Meemaw says she doesn’t know if he knows this, but neutrinos are like little messengers from the center of the sun. He did know that, but it’s delightful to hear her say it. Meemaw says that’s all she can remember. When she asks what’s up with him, John says just yesterday he had his first breakfast burrito. After Meemaw asks how it was, John says it was confusing as he ordinarily has burritos for lunch or dinner. Meemaw doesn’t know how to respond to that. John says with her working on an experiment and him having dinner for breakfast, it’s a crazy world.

Back in the copy room, Ms. Hutchins tells Mr. Givens she’s got to get the library. Mr. Givens says this is much more fun than books. When Ms. Hutchins wonders if she’ll be seeing him tonight, Mr. Givens says she’ll be seeing all of him. Georgie grimaces.

Over at the college, Meemaw holds up the orb in the garter she crocheted, describing it as her finest work. Sheldon says that’s a big deal since she also made his dinner mittens. When Dr. Linkletter asks if they should apply the empirical method, Meemaw says “Yes, the empirical method. Let’s apply that.”

Elsewhere, Brenda Sparks opens her door to Mary, who has baked a plate of cookies. Mary apologizes, saying she feels like she might have overstepped her bounds last night. After Brenda accepts her apology, Mary says she did mean it. If Brenda ever wants to talk, she’s there. Brenda says she appreciates it. As Mary starts to walk off, Brenda says it’s more than Billy. She reveals that Herschel moved out. Mary is sorry to hear that. When Brenda asks if she wants to come in, Mary says of course.

Back in the lab, Meemaw asks what’s with the box. Sheldon explains the experiment needs to be run in complete darkness. Dr. Linkletter says all that’s left is to turn the lights off so they can better see the flashes on the monitor. When the experiment starts, Meemaw doesn’t see anything. Linkletter says give it a moment. As brief flashes of light flicker on the screen, Meemaw asks if that’s it. When Linkletter confirms it is, Meemaw gasps and says they did it. Linkletter declares phase one is a success. Meemaw is wowed by the beautiful neutrinos, but Sheldon points out those aren’t neutrinos, just radioactivity. Meemaw wonders when they find the neutrinos. They don’t, Linkletter says, this is just the prototype. Sheldon says the actual device would need to be the size of a building. And is 20-30 years away from fruition, adds Linkletter. Meemaw is disappointed, pointing out she could be dead by then. Sheldon says she still helped advance science. Unless another team beats them to it, Linkletter concedes. A disillusioned Meemaw says she’ll wait in the car.

At the high school, Georgie wraps up another sale by telling the teen boy that “the smart cheater gets some answers wrong.” When Mr. Givens walks in, he asks Georgie if he can explain the test paper he found on the photocopier. Georgie denies knowledge, but Givens points out it’s Sheldon’s paper and Tam already told him that Georgie did it. Georgie gives up the pretense, but argues he only left it there because Mr. Givens came into the copy room and he had to hide. When a flustered Mr. Givens asks when this happened, Georgie says before school. Mr. Givens wonders exactly what he saw, but Georgie doesn’t want to talk about it. After Mr. Givens says he doesn’t want him talking about it, Georgie says he doesn’t want him talking about the tests. With that, the pair come to an understanding.

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