The Science Project is the tenth episode of the second season in this television sitcom on Family Matters, which was aired from ABC on November 16, 1990. It was directed by Gary Menteer and written both by Pamela Eells and Sally Lapiduss.
Laura has a dream that Steve has created an atomic bomb for a science project, and when it is about to detonate, nobody will listen to her. Unfortunately, the bomb is equipped with a fail-safe device: once the program is activated it can't be stopped.
Carl and Harriette busts Judy for being up after her bedtime curfew to watch Arsenio and remind her to go to bed. Once alone, they try to have a romantic night in the living room when Laura comes in and is worried about her science grades. Carl and Harriette warn her not to put too much pressure on herself. Laura doesn't listen and grounds herself to her room.
It happens to be a week long science project for their science class. The popular students tries to entice Steve to be their partner with the promise of popularity. However, it's Laura who successfully convinces him to be her partner by promising a date with her in exchange for helping her keep her straight-A reputation. Rachel catches this and isn't very happy with her. She admonishes Laura for her behavior and warns her against using Urkel. Rachel mentions that if she uses him for her own gain, it will blow up in her face.
Later on, Laura begins to dream about visiting Urkel in his science lab and he presents to her an atomic bomb as their science project. To her horror, Laura finds out that he had been crazy enough to make a real one and not a model like she had hoped. Steve mentioned he asked for the nuclear equipment from his uncle, Col. Dirk Urkel, and had to pay in cash in exchange for not visiting him in Washington DC. Laura points out having a dangerous device like the atomic bomb is against the law and punishable by life in prison. Urkel tries to reassure her that it can't go off unless someone mentions the fail safe password which he writes down on his notepad. Laura calls out "buttercup" and closes her mouth right away. Steve then reassures her that the computer will only recognize his voice pattern. While offering Laura candy, Urkel does make the mistake of saying that word and activates the bomb. She realizes that she must warn her family and leave.
Laura attempts to warn her family and even confesses to using Urkel. Carl and Harriette grounds her and no one else will listen. Eddie comes out of the closet, mentioning that his date with Jolene is more important than listening to Laura's nonsense. After closing the closet door in her face, Rachel comes down the stairs dressed up as an angel wearing a strapless white mermaid dress, wings and a halo on her head. She is seen holding a harp and strums a melodic sound on the strings in preparation for her appearance to Saint Peter. Laura warns Rachel about Steve creating an atomic bomb and it's less then 5 minutes to explosion. Despite believing her, Rachel admonishes Laura again for using him for her own gain and now everyone is paying for her mistake. She then apologizes for having not listened to her aunt's warning. Rachel mentions that while she forgives Laura, God will not when she comes to face his judgment. She plays on the harp again and leaves. Laura apologizes as the computer counts down to zero and the bomb goes of in Chicago. Urkel's voice is heard asking "Did I Do That?".
The nightmare ends as Steve comes over for a visit and Laura apologizes for her earlier behavior, confessing to her reasons for partnering up with him. The next day, he shows the Winslows the actual science project he worked on: a high powered mini-rocket. Urkel causes damage by launching it in the house, causing Carl, Harriette, Rachel, Eddie, Laura and Judy to chase after him.
- Reginald VelJohnson as Carl Winslow
- Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow (credited as Jo Marie Payton-France)
- Rosetta LeNoire as Estelle Winslow
- Darius McCrary as Eddie Winslow
- Kellie Shanygne Williams as Laura Winslow
- Jaimee Foxworth as Judy Winslow
- Bryton James as Richie Crawford (credited as Bryton McClure)
- Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
- Telma Hopkins as Rachel Crawford
- Crystal Jenious as Girl Student
- Aaron Lohr as Greg
- Joe Mays as Mr. Nagy
- Sky Berdahl as Student
- The first episode in which Urkel's basement is seen, albeit only in a dream sequence. It would later become one of the main sets on the show.
- The original scene where the atom bomb detonates and blows up chicago is censored in future airings and on the DVD set. This was likely due to the scenes of what the impact looked like being too gruesome.
- Aaron Lohr is the guest appearance in two episodes, who is the husband of Frozen star Idina Menzel.
- Both times Rachel strums the harp, the sound is delayed. It doesn't come until she is not still touching it.
- Carl: What's wrong, honey?
- Laura: Science class. I'm in big trouble! I may get a B.
- Carl: I got a B once. I framed it.
- Laura: Dad, this is serious. I can't afford a B on my permanent record. From now on, no parties and no TV. In fact, I'm grounded.
- Harriette: Laura!
- Laura: Don't argue. Someday, I'll thank myself for this.
- [Steve accidentally set off his A-bomb]
- Urkel: Don't panic, my love! If I remember correctly, the safest place to be during a nuclear explosion is in a reinforced basement.
- Laura: Not when the bomb is in the basement with you!
- Urkel: Good point... PANIC!
- Computer:[in an Urkel voice and appearance] Seven minutes left. You're about to be exposed by three b... billion rads of deadly radiation. But look on the bright side, soon you'll be your own nightlight.
- [The computer laughs and snorts.]