August 12, 2005

The geekiest analysis of relationships ever.

The BBC has this:
Richard Ecob adapted a system for modelling atoms in radioactive decay to investigate how we look for partners.

He found that "super daters", people who have many short relationships, have a good effect on others' lives.

This is because they break up weak couples, forcing their victims to find better relationships.

At the root of the system, says Mr Ecob, is the similarity between the probability of the nucleus of an atom decaying and that of a couple breaking up.

The decay of a nucleus is described in terms of "transit states": the series of change it has been through to get to its current situation.

The probability of someone having been in two relationships, for example, is the same as that of a nucleus decaying twice....

To model the phenomenon, he wrote a computer program which placed "software singles", people seeking partners, in an imaginary social network.

Each single had a set of interests, which they also looked for in potential partners.

The research suggested that multiple daters, those who form many relationships, were less effective at finding the right partner than those who remained in one place and let others come to them.

"If you have a complex network and you stay in one site you see more traffic coming through," he said. "It's a denser network, so there are more possible matches."

I'm guessing Ecob is remaining in one place waiting another to come to him.


David said...

Perhaps one of my fellow physicists has a wee bit too much time on his hands.

goesh said...

its very quarky for sure

Tonya said...

Reminds me of that scene in "A Beautiful Mind" when John Nash uses scientific principles to theorize a strategy to help his friends be more successful with women.

Ann Althouse said...

Tonya: Great connection!