The Big Bang Theory, Season 12, Episode 9 (November 15, 2018) -- "The Citation Negation"

I am starting this thread in anticipation of tonight’s episode.

Bernadette playing* Fortnite* is like Jim Ignatowski playing Pac-Man.

Or Penny playing WoW.

As a professional librarian with over 30 years work experience, I find it impossible to believe that the citations could not be verified via databases, which I’m sure Cal Tech licenses. And did Amy and Sheldon not read the papers they cited? Mayim has a PhD. She knows how to research. Papers from 1978 are easily verified. No need to go into the stacks.

I think it was too integral to the plot for them to introduce facts which mess its entire central premise up.

I had a couple of issues with this episode. Considering Howard’s Russian is “rusty,” wouldn’t it be better to get another translation? It’s possible he misinterpreted something. Also, the paper was from 1978. Couldn’t things have evolved since then?

I can understand not wanting to publish a paper that might be debunked by existing research, but I would think one would do that BEFORE they start work, not after. I have a sneaking suspicion this isn’t the end of super asymmetry.

I think they tried to get around that by saying it was cited in a paper they cited.

Yeah, I agree, if they were going to toss away all of their effort, I’d expect them to require something more than a questionable interpretation of a single article by someone they had never heard of.

Glad they did not make Bernadette excel at the game. And appreciated more screentime w/ comic store girl. And liked that she and Bernadette could not understand each other’s choice in men.

One thing, did they make comic store girl more attractive? When she said, “Look at my skin,” I was stricken by how attractive she looked, and thought they might have made her look more geeky before.

As someone who doesn’t know much (or anything) about writing research papers, it seemed to hang together OK.

Plus, IIRC correctly the problem was uncovered when Raj was checking the cites inside the cite that Shamy were using. Would that normally be done? And with the secondary cite being untranslated, it would have been difficult for them to have determined that there was a problem in any case.

Due to weather-related power outages, I missed the first half of this episode. But this was my first thought. Howard’s facility with languages has been shown to not be as great as he thinks it is, and if even he admits to being “rusty,” I would not rely on his translation skills. Particularly in a technical field with which he may not be familiar. If you’re really going to abandon your entire research project based on this one obscure paper, you should at least shell out the bucks to pay for a professional translator.

I keep hearing about Fortnite, and I’ve got to admit I have no idea what it is beyond “a popular videogame.”

More evidence that Bernadette really does find Howard attractive. Someone for everyone, I guess. :slight_smile:

Sheldon and Amy could rally, and do exactly this. Even the possibility that the Russian paper is correct is kind of devastating; I could understand their initial reaction being an “I give up” phase.

I really don’t mean to thread-shit, but this episode was a total void to me. The syndication run yesterday had an episode from the previous year (with Bert the geologist if it matters). As I was taking a shower this morning, I tried to remember anything from the episode, but all I could think of was Bert and I drew a total blank on the new episode.

At least reading this thread brought back some memories on what the episode was about - thanks for that.

And no, I don’t think the series has gone downhill all that much, just this episode did nothing for me.

Agreed. I will say translating a technical paper is a specialized skill, and Howard has the advantage that when he learned Russian he was learning it to support technical discussions. One reason why (I suspect) that a lot of papers are untranslated is that you need to find someone who is not only familiar with Russian, but also familiar enough with physics to understand how Russian words are used to refer to abstract concepts in physics.

Bernadette does have a good idea of what Howard sees in her, though.

More and more, the laughs on the show are generated by Bernadette and Howard’s relationship.

I agree that this episode was a void. There just wasn’t any there there.

epbrown01 - There’s the spin-off that should be made instead of that Young Sheldon garbage. Have Bernadette get transferred to an office in the South, and detail their adventures in Redneckistan. Maybe combine the two careers and set it in Houston or such.

I hope the writers eventually remember that in Season One’s “The Bat Jar Conjecture” it was established that Caltech had a genuine Russian physicist – Dimitri, the janitor; “Leningrad Polytechnica - Go Polar Bears.”

True anecdote. I once wrote sales material for Ford that was to be translated and distributed internationally. We hired the appropriate translators for the other regions, and most of the work went smoothly. However, the German version was reviewed by an engineer who argued with the translator over almost every word. When the translator argued the engineer’s phrasing was awkward and archaic, the engineer insisted that his version was more accurate. The translator shot back, “Maybe in 1946. . . in Bavaria!”

She’s not the only one :wink:

That irritated me, as well. A funny episode overall, though!

The episode where Raj was introduced to a Deaf woman had Howard doing very well in ASL. And here is what the actress who played her had to say about Simon Helberg:

One of the things I do for a living is edit scientific journals for a publishing house in Moscow. The articles are normally translated by Russians who (to varying degrees) know English and are familiar with the technical terms and concepts. Once in a while, it’s clear that a native English speaker who collaborated on a project had a hand in writing a paper, so you can be fairly certain everything is accurate where the science is concerned.

My job is actually less impressive than it sounds. While I have a pretty broad knowledge of science (and I’ve been editing these articles since 2003), I’m a linguist, not a chemist or physicist (or mathematician, or engineer, or any other science professional). It’s my responsibility to simply correct the bad English, and to be careful when I’m doing so. Very, very rarely do I suggest an alternative for a technical term.

I just finished watching this episode on line. My biggest problem with the setup is that the Russian paper was from forty years ago. A lot has changed in science since then, and there’s no guarantee that the author was 100% correct in his reasoning back then. What they should have done was do a follow up to see if the original work had been superseded.

With regard to Howard’s translation, the bit we heard him read in the cafeteria was pretty straightforward and there’s no chance he could have misunderstood it.

It’s quite possible they will. I imagine the end of the show will have upbeat good news storylines for every character, and this is a good one for Amy and Sheldon to have turn out well for them in the end.