Science Science love

Last updated on March 4, 2015 | by Aet Suvari

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1+4-2×32/7 = The Odds Of Finding Love

A single science nerd works out the improbable odds of finding a date using an interstellar technique and surprising results…

I’ve been thinking a lot about science and love recently and found another interesting article in the Wall Street Journal the other day, which also considers the possibility that love isn’t always just this magical thing that hits you out of the blue – but that it can be helped along and made to happen. Basically – science works on everything!

The article tells us about an American guy who felt rather lonely in London and so he came up with an equation to work out the odds of finding love in the big city. Or more precisely, he did some calculations in order to come up with a number of ladies who fit his criteria for dating. There are 8 million people in London, half of them women. How many could he possibly find compatible? 26. That’s right. 26!

This sounds pretty horrible. If out of 4 million women only 26 can possibly be matched with you, you well and truly are in trouble. Or perhaps you’re just way too picky and should lower your standards just a wee bit. That’s what I initially thought. Until I took a look at the equation the guy used – the Drake Equation, yes the same equation that was used in the 1960’s to devise whether there could be any intelligent life in our galaxy – and suddenly it made much more sense.

If you subtract all the people with unsuitable characteristics from the whole sum you’ll have an end result. For example – people living in London – how many of them are women – how many of them are single – how many of them fall in the right age category – how many of them have an university degree – how many of them you find attractive – how many of them find you attractive – and how many of them you think you can be compatible with.

If we’re looking for love, I think we could all apply pretty much the same criteria – no matter where we live. Out of those characteristics, I think only university degree is something that is not an absolute necessity for everyone looking for a date.

And, by the way – most of these figures can be obtained from the UK Office for National Statistics. You’re on your own when it comes to attraction and compatibility but you could probably base these numbers on your experience, just like the American guy in the article did.

Isn’t there something depressing about such a small number of compatible matches in such a big city? Well, not necessarily. The bloke in the article was exceptionally picky – well, he HAD TO be, with only 26 matches out of 4 million! But even he managed to find the perfect match and even marry her. So – how good is your maths?


About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+



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