Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

by Brendan McMonigal, Sydney Institute for Astronomy, The University of Sydney


A two body interaction is studied over an extended period of time in a variety of locations, and with a multitude of additional bodies. Additional tests are conducted in the later period of the study, and a summary of the studies results are presented. Finally, the prospect of continued study is evaluated.


It is widely acknowledged that in general, two body interactions are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate one particular set of two body interactions over an extended period of time. In section 2, the findings of the study are summarized, and in section 3, the prospect for future study is evaluated.

Overview of Results

Reaching a semi-bound state

The study began on the 23rd of March, 2005, outside a SciSoc BBQ at the Eastern Avenue building, when the subject spontaneously appeared in a red coat and grey `Paddington bear’ hat and was similarly spontaneously introduced by a local social node. This meeting was under optimal conditions, as it happened to be the rainiest day of the year, and as it was later discovered, hydrometeors excite both subjects. This meeting would have been a fleeting interaction as so many two body interactions are, but a high level of compatibility coupled with a high rate of interaction due to similar timetables resulted in a local resonance, and eventually a semi-bound state on the 23rd of May, 2005.

Spatial independence and the effects of additional bodies

The second phase of the study involved moving into a multi-body state, with between 3 and 5 additional principle bodies and their co-bodies. This state lasted for the majority of the rest of the study, and was shown to be consistent across a range of interactions and locations. The principle bodies were taken from a pool of 12 which ranged from purely independent, to frequently oscillating between different co-bodies. These longer term interactions were supplemented by a range of short term interactions with further additional bodies. Over the course of this phase of the study, the locational dependence of the results was tested across two main long term locations as well as a multitude of short term locations local, interstate, and international.

This phase also tested the effects of stress and tension on the two body interaction, applied first to one subject, and then to the other, in successive honours years. Additional tests conducted on a consistent annual basis during this phase included a two week separation (NMSS) and a surprise (Project Valentine). In the second half of this phase, additional tests included the effects of martial arts training for both subjects, and the effects of a consistent weekly multi-body interaction facilitated by homemade food.

The third phase of the study involved isolating the two body interaction in a new long term location, while continuing the above mentioned additional tests. This phase of the study is ongoing.


The summary of the findings of the study are presented in Figure 1, and show that the projected happiness is upward with high confidence. Taking these results into account, the author proposes to Christie Nelan, the indefinite continuation of the study. The subjects response to this proposal should be indicated below:


The author thanks the McMonigal family and the Nelan family, without which this research could not have been conducted. Additionally, the author thanks the University of Sydney for facilitating the initial period of this research.

[Ed. note: This story was a viral hit earlier this year.]


This article is republished with permission from the March-April 2013 of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can purchase back issues of the magazine or subscribe to receive future issues, in printed or in ebook form. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift! Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.

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