A few years ago, Bobby Seagull sat down and tried to work out why he had been so unlucky in life. “I was 32 or 33, I was single, I loved maths and science – I thought: ‘Can I use maths and science to help me?’ It was a genuine, earnest attempt.” And attempt he did. He used mathematics to try to solve his predicament.
Inspired by Peter Backus – a Manchester University economics lecturer who in 2010 wrote a paper titled Why I Don’t Have a Girlfriend – Seagull used the Drake equation, developed to estimate how many intelligent alien civilisations there might be in the galaxy, to determine his number of potential partners. “You start by assuming there’s infinitely many, then you keep on making the pool smaller and smaller.”
From the total female populations of London and Cambridge – the cities between which he split his time – Seagull selected those roughly his age and up to 10 years younger. Then he reduced that group to the proportion that were likely to be university educated, to reflect the reality of his networks, as a school maths teacher and doctorate student.
What happened next? Find out over at The Guardian.
(Image Credit: TheDigitalArtist/ Pixabay)