With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it is not surprising that love is the main topic of conversation and indeed how real love is found or stumbled upon!
How we choose and select partners and finally or immediately ‘fall in love’ can follow an array of patterns of twists and turns.
The roller coaster of romance is hard to quantify; defining how lovers might feel from a set of simple equations is impossible. But that doesn’t mean that mathematics isn’t a crucial tool for understanding love. Love, like most things in life, is full of patterns. And mathematics is ultimately the study of patterns—from predicting the weather to the fluctuations of the stock market, the movement of planets or the growth of cities. These patterns twist and turn and warp and evolve just as the rituals of love do. Mathematics is essentially the study of patterns, predicting the weather, the behaviour of subatomic particles, the movements of planets and the growth of cities as mentioned and when it comes to the patterns of love and romance, equally complex in its evolution, Mathematics is uniquely placed to serve as a guide to finding love.
Mathematician & Complexity Theorist Hannah Fry does just this in her book ‘The Mathematics of Love’ and has combined several mathematical theories and algorithms to help discover how to find love!
Using among many others Discrete Choice Theory which refers to the fact that people make decision based on options and whats available to them, and algorithms such as the Gale- Shapley Algorithm explaining how partners find success in matching up, Fry suggests people who make advances are much better at getting desired partners than those who sit back and wait. How we can handle rejection does also play a part!
Fry examines Behavioural Economics and the Decoy Effect, which refers to the marketing trick which helps consumers choose to buy the largest portion of Pop Corn in the cinema, for example, by selling portions of popcorn according to the following prices and sizes: Small €5; Medium €8; Large €8.50. Fry argues that humans can also use the Decoy Effect in increasing their chances of selection!
Ah, if only love was as simple as 1+1!
Happy Valentine’s Day from all at Connemara Maths Academy.
Hannah Fry’s Book ‘The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proofs, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation’ is available now (TED Books)