Leonard wants to travel back in time and prevent himself from buying a time machine. Sheldon points out the futility of his plan.



Sheldon: Leonard, it’s two in the morning.

Leonard: So?

Sheldon: So it’s my turn. Why did you set it for the day before yesterday?

Leonard: Because I want to go back and keep myself from getting a time machine.

Sheldon: You can’t. If you were to prevent yourself from buying it in the past, you would not have it available in the present to travel back and stop yourself from buying it, ergo you would still have it. This is a classic rookie time travel mistake.

Leonard: Can I go back and prevent you from explaining that to me?

Sheldon: Same paradox. If you were to travel back in time and, say, knock me unconscious, you would not then have the conversation that irritated you, motivating you to go back and knock me unconscious.

Leonard: What if I knocked you unconscious right now?

Sheldon: It won’t change the past.



futility = the fact of having no effect or of achieving nothing

ergo = therefore

rookie =  a person who is new to an activity

to knock someone unconscious = to hit someone so that they become unconscious; You could also say to knock someone out.

unconscious = in the state of not being awake and not aware of things around you

irritated = annoyed or angered

(definitions taken from the Cambridge Dictionary)


Another funny scene from Big Bang Theory:

Sheldon got Penny a gift



Big Bang Theory: The time machine

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