Will they? Won't they?

Your rating: None
3
Average: 3 (2 votes)

Bob Planck, a physicist, spotted a charming researcher in a nearby laboratory. She wasn’t your standard model. There was something relatively special about her – a virtual radiance. After some time admiring her from afar, Bob plucked up courage and asked Alice Cavendish out on a date. He said “There are only two possibilities: yes or no.” She turned him down.

He saw her again in the Library. Once more he asked her for a date. To limit the probabilities, he said “There are only two possibilities: yes or no.” She declined.

“I have to look after my sick cat Erwin. I’m not sure whether he’s still alive or not,” she explained.

A few days later Bob saw Alice in the Refectory and began to chat her up. “Will you go on a date with me?” he asked. “There are only two possibilities: yes or no.” She rejected his advance with a gesture of her hand - a simple wave function.

However, the pair continued colliding while on the university campus, as if their orbits were intersecting. Were they becoming a coherent pair? He suggested they should go to the cinema. He reminded her “There are only two possibilities: yes or no.”

She rebuffed his invitation with the explanation. “I’ve spent my whole day observing photons going through a double slit and hitting a screen.”

At a later meeting, Bob told Alice she was being unfair. His uncertainty was principally about her feelings towards him. His friends had seen them talking together and were ribbing him about becoming entangled. Was she in state of superposition, simultaneously wanting and not wanting to go out with him?

“If you’re not going to be my girlfriend” he told her, “will you leave me alone? There are only two possibilities: yes or no.”

Faced with settling on a single outcome, the young lady said “No.”

Bob thought this strange and asked Alice why she always answered “No.”

“My father spends a lot of time at the Large Hadron Collider,” she replied. “He’s very conCERNed for my well-being. Each time before he leaves he advises me that in a situation where there are only two possibilities: yes or no, that I should always answer ‘No’.”

Bob realised he’d been following a false hypothesis, and leapt on an alternative paradigm. The next time they met, Bob asked Alice “Are you determined to remain a singularity all your life? There are only two possibilities: yes or no.” With a relieved grin she answered: ”No.”

At their wedding, the bride was asked “Do you take Bob to be your husband? There are only two possibilities: yes or no.” She answered with an emphatic “Yes. I want to be Bob Planck’s constant companion.”

Inspired by the traditional English folk song Oh, No John.

About the Author: 
The author is a retired teacher of science.