A very Sciencey Valentine’s day
Happy valentines day! Okay maybe it’s turned into more of a reason to spend money on chocolate and flowers than it is about showing affection — which is probably why some people hate it — but it can still be a somewhat special day. Unfortunately I’ve been struggling on what I could do for my wife on valentines day. So I thought I would work it out here and maybe even help a few of you who are stuck as well.
Originally I wanted to make a card, which by the way is much more romantic than buying one and can be done on just about any budget. I thought of what I really wanted it to say.
That last one was a real contender for the card. Of course, after thinking about it, I thought I should go a little more traditional. Originally I was going to go with something really romantic and I came up with a few contenders.
But I love science and frankly, my heart was just not that into it. So after all those failures, I had to think about what I could do next. I thought about writing, since that is the point of the blog anyway. I could write about how we fall in love neurologically.
Because let’s face it, nothing says love like a few good brain scan images. Then again, knowing my wife that would do little to impress her and more to just confuse her as to why I was showing her pictures of a brain with blotches of color on it.
So I decided to turn away from neurology and focus on biology instead!
I thought it was cute, but that wasn’t quite what I was going for. I needed something simpler, but something that would make her smile at the same time.
Still, that wasn’t quite what I wanted. I know my wife is a romantic, so I wanted to show her that despite the fact that I love science and the scientific method, the world was still full of magic. So I turned my sights to physics, my other big science love.
After a long and exhausting search, I decided to tone down the cute and funny to just be honest. See neurobiology boils down love to brain activity. While this is very true, it is hardly magical. The biological reasons for love have to do more with passing on of genetics than it does with the romantic version of love that people, well love.
But physics can be romantic because we can talk probability, like the probability my wife even would exist today.
So really the odds of my wife — or anyone for that matter — existing the way that they are is exceedingly tiny. Combine that with the fact that we need to take into consideration the odds that I would be me, that we would exist in the same timeframe as one another (much less within a few years of each other), and the odds that two random people in the world will meet and we are dealing with an incredibly small, but obviously non-zero number.
With odds like that, we still met and you know what? That is just simply amazing!
There are certain quantum mechanical models of the universe that suggest that there could very well be an infinite amount of universes, encompassing everything that could ever possibly happen, ever. Using that model then there is a smaller — but still infinite — number of universes where we exist, but don’t ever meet, much less fall in love or get married.
What I am trying to say, that despite all the odds, I am infinitely glad that I get to exist in a universe we’re we are together.
(See what I did there?)
Happy valentines day everyone, I hope this was enlightening. And to my wife, I love you!
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Bartels, A., & Zeki, S. (2000). The neural basis of romantic love NeuroReport, 11 (17), 3829-3834 DOI: 10.1097/00001756-200011270-00046
van Steenbergen, H., Langeslag, S., Band, G., & Hommel, B. (2013). Reduced cognitive control in passionate lovers Motivation and Emotion DOI: 10.1007/s11031-013-9380-3
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