Ultimate Nerd Marriage Proposal

It’s June, and the thoughts of the JSI ladies have turned to love! Implanting a marriage proposal in a scientific paper may not be your idea of romance, but for two University of Sydney physics grad students, it was the perfect medium.

"Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study" by Brendan McMonigal

“Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study” by Brendan McMonigal

Recently Christie Nelan posted a scientific proposal online written by Brendan McMonigal, entitled “Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study.” The paper summarizes their meeting and seven-year relationship and concludes that their happiness was likely to increase over time.

McMonigal graphed the correlation between happiness and time and concluded:

The summary of the findings of the study are presented in Figure 1, and show that the projected happiness is upward with high confidence. Taking these results into account, the author proposes to Christie Nelan the indefinite continuation of the study. The subject’s response to this proposal should be indicated below.

Goes right along with, "Your chromosomes have combined beautifully!" and "I would simply walk into Mordor for you."

Goes right along with, “Your chromosomes have combined beautifully!” and “I would simply walk into Mordor for you.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, McMonigal said, “I subtly got down on one knee to get the paper from my bag and hand it to her, then stood up to wait for her reaction. She hadn’t noticed what was happening at all, but as a typical physics grad, she read the abstract and then skipped straight to the conclusion and quickly [figured out what it meant].”

Of course, Nelan accepted the proposal. After all, how could she refuse to follow the study to its logical conclusion?

Take note, guys. McMonigal put quite a bit of thought and work into his offer of marriage. He thought of what interests they shared and what would make her laugh. As I told a young man who consulted me about a Christmas gift for his girlfriend, “It’s not what you spend that’s important; it’s the thought that you put into it.”


11 thoughts on “Ultimate Nerd Marriage Proposal

  1. Susan Kaye

    I hope they’ve left enough space for variables that are inevitable. And once kids are added to the equation, all these conclusions will be wiped out and the new ones will be sticky and completely unpredictable.

    Great post, Robin.


    1. Robin Helm Post author

      I don’t know about their allowance for variables. They seem to be hard to the rational side to me. Time will tell.


      1. Susan Kaye

        I believe that in the same way age and treachery beat youth and skill every time, so so the blunt force of reality pounds rationality into the ground.

        Flexibility counts in the game of life.



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