For those of you that are friends with me on Facebook, you may or may not be wondering why I am suddenly no longer listed as single. Those that aren’t friends with me on Facebook are probably now equally as curious. Let me explain this in the best way I can: I’m in a trial relationship.
Now, what exactly is a trial relationship? It’s not a relationship, and it’s not just being friends, but it’s both of those and neither at the same time. Brain done exploding? Let’s look at it this way:
An alpha particle (basically a Helium nucleus) can decay out of a large atom at some random time, depending on when you check to see what’s going on. If you look at the initial particle really quickly, it’s almost 100% likely to have not decayed, which I’ll write like this: (you’ll understand shortly). If you wait a while to look, but before you look, that alpha particle might have decayed, so now it will have an arbitrary 25% of being in the decayed state when we look at the original atom, which I’ll write like this: .
Making a little more sense now? When we look at the atom after a while, the alpha particle basically has to decide if it has or hasn’t decayed, since before we look we just don’t know; that’s why we have the two probabilities describing one particle. Once we look, the particle will either have decayed or not decayed ( or ), but we won’t know until we actually look at the particle.
And now we finally get back to the trial relationship. Right now, and as of a few hours ago, our relationship probability went from (for ) to something closer to or . Of course, we haven’t “observed” our relationship (basically us deciding whether to go for the full version or get a refund), and at that point the probability will shift either completely to one side or the other.
See? Physics can get you a girlfriend…