Math Brain

You know you’ve just finished a statistics class when certain phrases start to creep into your conversation. And, you know you’ve been married to an engineer when certain thoughts creep into your head. A few humorous examples that make me think I’ve got math brain? Take a look:

During rehearsal this weekend, the backstage area was extremely hot. One actor says, “I’ll mention it to the stage manager to get it fixed. (Sarcastically) I mean, it’s not like she doesn’t have 12,000 other things to do, so clearly this is the HIGHEST priority, right?” My first thought? “Actually, adding one more request to a list of 12,000 is really small in comparison to the entire list, and the proportion of people affected by the request is much greater, relative to many of the other requests on the list that only affect one person.” Sigh… all proportions and percentages!

At dinner with my engineer husband, we started talking about the traffic flow at the restaurant and the turn time on the tables at the restaurant. Then, I mention that it would probably be very interesting to see the Poisson distribution or a regression to see the influence of factors like party size, alcohol consumption, time at table, and average check size. You could arrange these in any number of ways to hone your food order, frequency of service, time to drop the check or upsell… any number of ways to increase that average check size!

So, how does academia creep into your daily life? If you’ve got a spouse on the opposite end of the spectrum, do you start to think like them?

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