The Mathematics of Love

I Kissed My Date Goodnight

I got a timely heads up from an Oregonian blog reader, Trina, that this week’s episode of “This American Life” would likely suit my fancy. It’s a Valentine’s-themed broadcast, so I fittingly took her advice this morning and tuned in as Ira Glass chatted with NPR’s David Kestenbaum. They traveled back to the days when David was a PhD student studying high-energy particle physics at Harvard. If you’re picturing an episode of The Big Bang Theory right now, you’re not alone. I bet any listener not immediately familiar with the intricacies of particle physics was thinking the same thing.

Sheldon WhiteboardOne day while David and his college friends were chit-chatting around the science lab, as physicists often do, the subject turned to women – in particular, why none of these smart, available men had girlfriends. Scientific fact: wherever there is a physicist, there is bound to be a whiteboard. So the…

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