Friday, May 06, 2016

Thoughts on an IKEA visit

Never let it be said that quantum mechanics is not risqué.

In Book 3 of the Open University course you learn about molecular orbitals: crudely, the probability distribution of electrons around the nuclei of atoms bound together as molecules. The simplest case is two protons sharing one electron - H2+, the hydrogen molecule ion.

Lowest energy orbital for the hydrogen molecule ion

A pleasing shape, wouldn't you say?

The distribution of body weight on our double bed has a similar density function. This is not simply because we naturally prefer to sleep on our own sides, it's more that our mattress is in fact two single mattresses zipped together. The central hard ridge repels each of us off to the side.

To solve this problem, Clare and myself visited IKEA Bristol yesterday to purchase a super kingsize mattress. We both lay on the store bed, exploring mattress possibilities, to the general hilarity - some verbally expressed - of passing fellow-shoppers.

It should be delivered next Thursday, after which our bedtime molecular orbital may look more like the additive combination below:


We also bought a small flat-pack chest of drawers which took me almost three hours to assemble. I am astonishingly inept at manipulating physical reality and therefore had to work extra hard at being systematic, laying everything out in the right orientation, and checking every diagram three times.


It's an IQ test, and I googled "minimum IQ to assemble IKEA flat-pack" but there were no relevant hits. I recommend this as a research project.

But upon reflection, I figured that anyone who could afford IKEA prices would either have a high-enough IQ to do the assembly correctly already or would be rich enough to hire a handyman, so I doubt it's a problem IKEA lose any sleep over.

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