A physicist proposes, nerdily

There’s someone for everyone, and here’s the touching way that two Aussie geeks got together.

I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this, but PopSci shows a spoof paper posted in imgur by one physicist (presumably Australian) proposing to another. It’s a bit nerdy and cheesy, but cute.

(Click to enlarge.)

If you have a good proposal story, share it!

SKNl3VRAs Reader Rick Graham notes below, a story from news.com.au gives the details (she accepted). Here’s the happy couple, Brendan McMonigal and Christie Nelan:


And this:

On their seventh anniversary, Ms Nelan returned from a work trip and the couple met up at the university, with plans to go out for dinner. Mr McMonigal had been planning to propose for some time. “But when I thought of this, I knew it would be perfect,” he said.

He handed her a scientific report which he had ‘forgotten’ to give her to read on the trip.

Ms Nelan didn’t notice that he had gone down on bended knee when he handed her the report and she went to put it away to read after dinner.

“I hesitated because it was only one page, which is very short for your average physics paper, and then I realised Brendan was giving me a very odd look,” Ms Nelan said. “So I looked at the paper more carefully and realised Brendan was the author.”

h/t: Rick


  1. Rick Graham
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    It’s legit!

    …and of course she accepted. Picture at the link.

  2. Veroxitatis
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Not much of a physicist if he can’t distinguish his principles from his principals.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

      And I was wondering if “martial arts” was a typo for “marital arts”.

  3. Timingila
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I’m pretty proud of my proposal. I made a stop-motion film by wandering around Saint Paul, MN, asking strangers if I could take their picture holding cards with the bits of my proposal written on them. As an introvert this was excruciating at times, but for the most part people were extremely supportive and helpful. It ended up taking 2 months of evenings and weekends to get all 1200 cards captured, and countless hours of resizing and rotating and fiddling in Photoshop and Premiere to get them all to line up.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted March 5, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      That’s lovely, Tim. 🙂

    • Patrick Webb
      Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I love, excellent work!

    • IdoP
      Posted March 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Awesome. Did she say yes?

      • Timingila
        Posted March 5, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        She did say yes! 🙂

        • IdoP
          Posted March 6, 2013 at 2:49 am | Permalink


    • Posted March 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Way to go, lovely introverted man!

    • truthspeaker
      Posted March 6, 2013 at 9:18 am | Permalink


  4. Mike Taylor
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    My wife (LV) and I met in school in western Missouri. I was a grad student, she was an undergrad. We had known each other reasonably well for awhile. During my herpetology class in the spring semester, I wanted to collect fence lizards (Sceloporus consobrinus nee undulatus) for my herp project. LV agreed to help. The first day was not successful but she invited me down to her family farm over the weekend, where we had great success. We caught lizards, too! That is when we started dating.

    We spent lots of time that summer fishing on the Marmaton River, using bank lines for catfish. One evening late in the summer, while sitting around a bucket of freshly dug worms and baiting hooks, I proposed. She accepted. No bended knee here. We spent the next spring and summer catching catfish for our wedding reception. The wedding lasted about 15 minutes; the fish fry lasted the rest of the day.

    This August will mark 25 years. Perhaps we should go fishing…

  5. Diane G.
    Posted March 5, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Permalink


  6. TJR
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Observational data like this are notoriously unreliable. How were those error bars in figure 1 derived with no replication?

    They need a properly designed factorial experiment in order to assess this properly.

  7. Karst
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 5:25 am | Permalink


    However, the author of the paper “needs” to learn how to compose a better abstract (in my humble opinion).

    I highly recommend “A Scrutiny of the Abstract, II” by Kenneth K, Landes.

    It is freely available on the internet.

  8. Posted March 6, 2013 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I live this story. Pssssk to all you negative cynics criticising the grammar/spelling/sciencey bits! It properly does my hand flapping attempt at a proposal down! (She said yes though…)

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