The Mathematics of Love

On 13 September 11 of us met at Peggy’s to experience a TED talk and discuss the points raised.  

“A TED Talk is a showcase for speakers presenting great, well-formed ideas in under 18 minutes.

Why under 18 minutes?

This short talk model works, since it only demands the audience’s attention for a short period of time, decreasing the chance of minds wandering or daydreaming about lunch. In fact, some of our greatest TED Talks have been as short as 5 minutes long!”

For those unable to attend the meeting – or who would like to revisit it, here is the link to programme: or

The topic was ‘The Mathematics of Love’ presented by Hannah Fry.  None of us could remember who decided this would be an interesting one to have as the meeting theme,  Who ever it was, ‘thank you’.  Great choice.

I have to say Hannah Fry was very easy to listen to, explained the mathematical theories in language we could understand,  interspersed with humour.

Basically, she said there were three main points that suggested mathematics can be helpful in finding an appropriate partner in life.  I won’t summarise as the links above will explain far more efficiently than I can.  

The subsequent discussion is difficult to summarise.  It has to be admitted that for a considerable time we went a little ‘off piste’ and discussed various ways that people look for ‘the one’ if nature hasn’t provided them:  internet dating, dating agencies, arranged marriage were the main topics.   Relating to the actual talk, the 37% aspect caused the most discussion, along with the concern that ‘the one’ might be in the 37% and that s/he would be missed.  There was also discussion about the use (and competent interpretation) of statistics.  In particular the tendency of some to ‘misinterpret’ results to gain a gripping headline – in many aspects of life, not just love issues.

Apologies if the summary is a little ‘thin’.  My best advice is to tune in to the talk and enjoy Hannah Fry’s eloquent explanation.