News from the world of maths: Happy Valentines Day from Plus

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentines Day from Plus

Mathematics is the tool we use to solve our problems. But can maths uncover the secrets behind love? Given that love is a game, and mathematical game theory can be used to find the best strategies to win at games, why not try and apply maths to love?

So here, on Valentines Day, are some Plus stories from society's most lucky in love, the mathematicians:

  • Love's a gamble — Delve into the application of game theory to love. Is it really in your best interests to buy an expensive present for the object of your affection, or will they merely find your show of ostentatiousness pretentious?
  • Maths, love and man's best friend — Finding your perfect partner, it seems, is simply a mathematical process. Dr Peter Todd, of the Max Planck Institute in Munich, says that by the time you have met 12 potential partners, you have enough information to make a good choice as to who should be your life-long love.
  • 'Calculus' — Why sex is like mathematics? Because both can lead to productive results but that is not what we are thinking when we conduct it....
  • 2007 Nobel Prizes won by mathematicians — The maths behind one of last year's Nobel Prizes ensures happy marriages!
  • Symmetry, dance and sexual selection — There are not many concepts that are fundamental to both maths and sex, but symmetry is one of them. In maths the study of symmetry forms the basis of a vast field called group theory and can be exploited to understand the patterns inherent in nature and the abstract world. On the other hand, scientists have long suspected that the symmetry of a person or animal's body is an indicator of health and strength and therefore desirability as a potential mate. Does it make us more attractive?
  • And finally, does the Golden Ratio really have anything to do with beauty?
From everyone here at Plus, have a great Valentines Day and we hope all your sexy mathematical dreams come true.

posted by Plus @ 11:34 AM


  • Want facts and want them fast? Our Maths in a minute series explores key mathematical concepts in just a few words.