decision theory
Would you stake your fortune on a 100 to 1 outsider? Probably not. But what if, somewhere in a parallel universe, the straggling nag does come in first? Would the pleasure you feel in that universe outweigh the pain you feel in the one in which you've lost? Questions not dissimilar to this one occupy physicists and for entirely respectable reasons. 
In the previous article we explored how a clever argument involving gambling makes the idea that there are parallel universes more credible. But does it really? 
How do you choose a partner? Is it an irrational choice or is it made rationally, based on a mathematical model which analyses the best potential partner you are likely to meet?


The previous feature, "Mathematics, marriage and finding somewhere to eat" investigated the problem of finding the best potential partner from a fixed number of potential partners using a technique known as "optimal stopping". Inevitably, mathematicians and mathematical psychologists have constructed other models of the problem...
