Searching for ‘the one’: Can Mathematics be Used to Find Love?

From investing and business management to weather forecasts, mathematics has a huge number of applications and uses. Surprising no one, these applications may actually extend to the matters of the heart.

Image source: Cbmw.org
                     Image source: Cbmw.org

This is the premise behind Hannah Fry’s TED talk in 2014 and now her newly released book, “The Mathematics of Love.” A mathematician at the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis in London, Fry discussed that mathematics, as it is about studying patterns, can essentially be used to interpret love, an aspect of life that is full of patterns.

One example she gave was how mathematics can give a signal to a person when is the right time to settle down. From patterns and statistics, she deduced that it is best to exclude everybody who someone dated in the first 37 percent of his or her dating timeline as a serious marriage candidate. For example, if a woman started dating at the age of 15 and wanted to get married at 35, she will have to reject everyone who came along within the first 37 percent of that window, or around until the age 22. Fry then said that after this primary stage, the next person who is better than all of those in the first 37 percent period is most likely the best candidate for marriage.

She explained that people actually use this method subconsciously. Most people who enter the dating game start off by getting a feel of the “marketplace” first before starting to look seriously for potential marriage candidates. This expounds the idea that humans are hardwired to be mathematical in nature.

Image source: Funlava.com
                            Image source: Funlava.com

Of course, Fry acknowledges that there are risks to this method and that dating solely by using mathematics can be dangerous. But she wants people to know that if they need a little bit of help with their dating life, mathematics can actually be their ally. Furthermore, she wants to help people realize the power of mathematics; equations and symbols aren’t just figures, they essentially represent life itself.

Rishi Kowalski is a mathematics student at Amherst College with a keen interest in statistics and data analysis. Get more updates about the field of mathematics by following this Google+ page.

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Searching for ‘the one’: Can Mathematics be Used to Find Love?

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